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Airport Authority seeks city loan to cover 50 percent of project

by Chris Olson

Posted on 5/19/2016

The Jamestown Regional Airport Authority is seeking a loan from the city of Jamestown to cover 50 percent of the cost to purchase, transport and reassemble a passenger-boarding bridge from Minot International Airport.

The Airport Authority approved the loan request Wednesday at its regular monthly meeting.

At a special meeting May 11, the authority approved purchasing two used passenger-boarding bridges that Minot International Airport had put out for bid for $32,000. The authority also approved the dismantling and transportation of one bridge for a cost up to $20,100 and authorized a committee that includes Airport Authority Chairman Jim Boyd, Vice Chairman Keith Veil and Sam Seafeldt, airport manager, to review the quotes for the project and see if there was any room for lowering costs.

Mayor Katie Andersen said Wednesday the Airport Authority's Commercial Air Service Committee had come up with a total estimated project cost of $126,820 when it met Tuesday.

The Airport Authority has applied for a 70-30 grant with the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission for the project. If the NDAC approves the grant, the Aeronautic Commission would pay 70 percent of the project cost, with the Airport Authority responsible for the remaining 30 percent. Boyd said the Aeronautics Commission will meet on June 9 to discuss the request and he and Seafeldt will be at the meeting to answer questions about the project. He said he has also included letters of support from the Anne Carlsen Center, the Freedom Resource Center and Jamestown Travel Inc.

By asking for a loan from the city to cover 50 percent of the total cost, which would be $63,410 of the total estimated cost, the Airport Authority would have enough to at least get one bridge disassembled and transported to Jamestown, Andersen said. She said the Commercial Air Service Committee was in favor of having airport staff remove all possible usable parts from the second passenger-boarding bridge and leaving the rest be demolished at Minot.

Veil said he didn't like that option because there is an offer from an Indianapolis-based company to buy the second bridge for $8,500, but the offer is contingent on the Airport Authority paying for the dismantling cost, which is about $9,700.

"We would lose a little over $1,000 on this," Veil said.

Veil also said there would be a cost for the demolition of the second bridge if the Airport Authority decided to go that route.

Seafeldt said he had talked with the interim airport manager in Minot and was told there would be a cost but didn't have an estimate for that work.

Veil estimated the demolition cost at $5,000. Even with the possibility of losing about $1,000 on the second bridge, assuming another airport doesn't want to purchase the bridge, Veil said he thinks the project is still a good idea.

"This is still a great buy," he said,

Andersen said she agreed, as a new passenger-boarding bridge costs about $750,000 and a refurbished one is about $500,000.

She said the Airport Authority's loan request will come before the city's Finance and Legal Committee at 4 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.

In other business, the Airport Authority reviewed passenger boarding numbers for April from SkyWest Airlines. There were 699 total passenger boardings, down from 998 passenger boardings in March, but up from 512 passenger boardings in April 2015. Seafeldt said the airline is projecting passenger boardings of 829 for May.

colson@jamestownsun.com | (701) 952-8454