Alva Review-Courier -

City to install meters, start billing airport water users

 


Much of the Alva Airport Commission meeting Monday night was spent in discussion of water. Board members talked about charging individual and business water users at the airport and about water drainage issues.

Airport Manager Greg Robinson handed out a list of places where water was probably available or being used by individuals. Some of these locations are already paying a minimum charge for water to the city. Some also pay for trash service. At least six hangars owned or leased by individuals include indoor plumbing. In addition there are several frost free hydrants located around the airport accessible by the public.

Board members were given a chart of water consumption history for the airport that shows peaks in the summer months with 60,900 gallons in June 2018 and about 115,000 gallons in April 2019. As a city-owned facility, the airport does not pay the city for water. However, there are some located on the airport who account for a lot of the water use.

Airport Commission member Paul Kinzie, who is an owner in hangars on the airport, said he pays a minimum monthly rate to the city that was set several years ago. The amount of water usage is not metered. Since then, utility bills have increased, but his cost has not increased.

Commission Chair Dale Logsdon, who works for Plane Plastics, said that company has always paid a separate utility bill to the city, and they have a meter installed.

Mayor Kelly Parker, who is a member of the airport commission, said the city could go in and place water meters at the locations to be billed. In his opinion, if no trash service was needed, that would not be a part of the bills. However, the bills would include the $5 per month street maintenance fee. Someone asked if the city maintains the streets at the airport, and Robinson said they have been out to work on them. The water rates would be based on in-town rates since the airport is inside the city limits.

Kinzie asked if the city would be able to find the water lines. City Manager Joe Don Dunham said it would be a challenge. Apparently water lines have been run without records being kept of their locations. Some of the lines are plastic and some are lead. Kinzie told Dunham that one line might have two or three others using water off it.

Logsdon said he thought his hangar lease with the airport included unmetered water access, but he wasn’t completely sure. Dunham said some leases say the person leasing the hangar is responsible for all utilities.

Dunham said most bills would be the $24.20 basic water rate plus $1.64 per gallon up to 3,000 gallons plus the $5 street fee. A sewer fee may also be charged.

Board members seemed to agree that there was no need to meter the frost free outdoor hydrants located near hangars. There’s no way to determine who is using them and the water usage is very low.

Everyone seemed in agreement that individuals and businesses should be billed for water usage. They approved a motion that the city proceed with developing and implementing a plan to install the meters and start doing billing. Dunham said it would take some time to implement the meter installations, and they’ll probably start with the biggest water users first. The airport manager was also directed to send out notices to owners and lease holders about the water meters and water billing.

Drainage Issues

During the manager’s report, quite a bit of time was spent discussing the problem of water running into hangars during the recent heavy rains. Board members discussed whether the drainage problem at the newest airport-leased hangar building was due to an engineering issue or simply needs to be addressed by hiring a contractor.

Complicating the problem is the fact that the airport has changed engineering firms, and the hangar building was designed by the former engineers. Robinson said he can’t get anyone to call him back from Garver Engineering regarding the drainage issue. Kinzie suggested he send a certified letter with a return receipt to verify they have received it.

Logsdon said the water problem in the new hangar is the least in severity of all the hangars on the airport. He listed numerous hangars that experience water coming in and running through them. Robinson said there is no grade to the airport land; it is flat. “I don’t know if we can fully repair or alleviate it because it is so flat,” said Logsdon. He said that has been an issue at the airport for 20 years or so.

Manager’s Report

Robinson reported Jet A fuel sales were down in May, but it was a good month for avgas. The airport had $10,059.98 in avgas sales and $3,658.40 in Jet A. Oil sales and one overnight hangar rental added to the fuel totaled $13,901.05 for the month.

In maintenance, Robinson said Hoidale came May 16, removed the Jet A drop tube and replaced it. It was found the spill bucket wiring was unhooked causing it not to operate so a sensor was not needed. A new gasket was put on the west spill bucket but when it was glued in, the lid was also glued down. Opening the lid to inspect it required prying the lid off, and that damaged the new gasket. So it will have to be replaced again. All the filters in the gas systems have now been changed.

Airport staff are trying to keep up with the mowing when it is not raining.

The carpets in the terminal building have been cleaned. However, some rain came in later and put a little stain on one area.

Two representatives from the Oklahoma Aeronautic Commission visited the airport in May to conduct “a kind of inspection,” said Robinson. They showed him a national aircraft inventory list and asked him to work on updating it for Alva. It lets them see how many aircraft are based at each airport.

Another employee has been hired at the airport. Twenty-one pilots who flew into the airport signed the book during May. That number was 35 in April, but the weather has not been good for flying during much of May.

Board member Terry Turner asked about any work being done to maintain the turf runway. Robinson said it has been too wet, but they will try to do some mowing.

Looking at the list of past due accounts, Kinzie asked if any of them had been contacted. Robinson said he contacted the two with the biggest balances, and one made a half payment.

Alva Fly In

April Mills gave a brief report on the Alva Fly In planned for September. She said the Young Eagles program will be at the airport Thursday afternoon after school. That program was very popular last year, giving youth a chance to experience the fun of flying.

Mills said several items from last year such as signs and ropes were stored and can be used again this year. The program will not include any stunt flying so the airport will not need to be shut down during the fly in.

She has been talking to pilots who visit other airports and plans to send Alva Fly In posters with them to be posted at area airports.

 

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