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Airport loan: City committee OKs funds to help airport purchase passenger-boarding bridge

by Keith Norman

Posted on 5/25/2016

The Jamestown Finance and Legal Committee recommended Tuesday that the city loan up to $63,000 to Jamestown Regional Airport to cover as much as half of the costs to purchase and install a passenger-boarding bridge.

Jim Boyd, chairman of the Jamestown Regional Airport Authority, presented the request to the committee. He also announced SkyWest Airlines will continue to provide service to Jamestown for the next two years after its contract through the Essential Air Service program had been renewed.

Boyd received an email announcing the renewal of the contract while attending the meeting.

EAS provides a federal subsidy to SkyWest to provide daily airline service to Jamestown and Devils Lake from Denver. SkyWest was first awarded the contract in 2014.

"Now that we've broken into jet service with SkyWest and with the coming Jetway, I've never felt so optimistic about the community," Boyd said.

The passenger-boarding bridge project is estimated to cost up to $126,000 and includes the purchase of the passenger-boarding bridge from Minot International Airport, disassembly and moving the bridge and installation at the terminal in Jamestown, Boyd said. The Airport Authority has applied for a 70 percent grant to cover the cost of the bridge and installation from the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission.

Boyd said the Aeronautics Commission will meet on June 9 to determine the amount, if any, it will grant to the Jamestown Regional Airport for the boarding bridge.

"Our best bet is to stay with the Aeronautics Commission as the No. 1 source for funds with the city as a backup," he said.

Jeff Fuchs, city administrator, said the loan could be made from the city's special assessment deficiency fund which currently has a surplus. The airport would build loan payments into its operating fund budget to retire the debt.

In other business, the Civic Center and Promotion Committee agreed to forward a renewal of the city's agreement with Jamestown Tourism to its budget process this summer.

"This has worked well for both entities," said Ramone Gumke, city councilman. "We need to come up with the (cost) numbers and renew."

In a special Jamestown City Council meeting held prior to the committee meetings, the council approved Interstate Engineering preparing plans and specifications for paving 5th Street Northeast. This street provides access to the Two Rivers Activity Center and would be paved next summer prior to the completion of the TRAC project.

The Finance and Legal Committee also approved the formation of a committee to review the city's ordinance related to blighted and substandard housing. The committee will include Councilmen Dan Buchanan and Steve Brubakken and representatives of the Jamestown Fire and Police departments and city building inspector.