By Katy Stech
Airport improvements were the lead story for the community’s governing body when it met Monday afternoon.
The commission unanimously approved the start of engineering for the reconstruction of a runway at the Abilene Municipal Airport.
A support document read by city manager David Dillner stated, “The full-depth asphalt pavement is in fair to good condition, but is deteriorating. High water table and poor soils are the contributing factors.”
The commission approved a contract with Olsson Associates, Lincoln, Neb., to serve as project manager to oversee the project. The Airport Advisory Committee had recommended approval of the project manager.
The project is eligible for a federal cost share on a 90 percent (federal) and 10 percent (local) formula. The preliminary engineering cost is estimated at $605,833 with the city’s share at $60,583. The FAA’s share is estimated at $545,250.
The complete project was initially estimated to cost about $3 million based on 2011 figures. The project is planned for 2017 at an estimated cost of $3.4 million
In a staff report, Dillner said the city could petition the FAA for a discretionary funding grant to help offset some of the inflated costs.
In another airport-related matter, the commission authorized Dillner to solicit proposals for structural repairs to the city-owned T-hangars. That request was also initiated by the advisory committee.
A feasibility report compiled by Ebert Mayor Design Group, Manhattan, in April 2011, had concluded that “continued use of the hangar increases the risk of occupants, airplanes and other items in the hangar as compared to a building that has a structural system that can support the code required design loads.”
A preliminary cost figure had repairs estimated between $150,000 to $210,000, Dillner said. Because of the range in costs, he recommended to the governing body that it consider requests for proposals. The city is under no obligation to accept a contract, he said.
Mayor Dennis Weishaar said the city wanted to find out if any state or federal monies could be available to offset costs, but the city has been unsuccessful.
Dillner said the project might have been one for consideration in applying to the FAA, but the runway had to take a higher priority when the federal organization reviews it.
“Once we find out the costs we will know how to proceed,” Weishaar said.
The city will also be sponsoring a proposed sales tax public information meeting at 7 p.m. today in the Abilene Public Library, 209 N.W. Fourth.
Abilene voters in November will be asked to consider approving a quarter cent retailers’ sales tax to pay for a local street repair program.
In other action the commission:
• Approved designating Nov. 3 as Buddy Poppy Day on behalf of the American Legion Auxiliary. The poppy is the memorial flower for America’s war dead that began as a tradition in the years following World War I. Donations received are used for children and youth programs and care for disabled veterans. Receiving the proclamation were Norma Baker, Phyllis Wilson, Gary Vincent, Linda Vincent and Avis Viola.
• Acknowledged the receipt of a Union Pacific 150th anniversary coin. Dillner and Weishaar had earlier accepted the coin. The railroad company started July 1, 1862. Dillner said president Abraham Lincoln endorsed the construction of the rail line across the country. The coin is made if three metals and comes with a book. Dillner said the company wanted to express their thanks to communities along the rail line for the partnership in commerce. Weishaar said the Kansas Pacific was not a part of the original project but when the South left the Union it accelerated the development of a trans-continental rail line.
• Approved a consent agenda that included approval of Oct. 9 and 16 minutes; payroll of $137,388.58, bills of $455,740.85; a resolution authorizing the city’s financial statements for fiscal year 2012 to be prepared in compliance with the cash basis and budgetary laws of the state; and issued a letter of support in application for historic trust fund monies that could be used for work on the Abilene Stadium in Eisenhower Park.
BUDDY POPPY DAY PROCLAMATION – Abilene vice mayor John Ray (seated at left) reads a proclamation recognizing Buddy Poppy Day as Nov. 3, an annual project of the American Legion Auxiliary. Also pictured are (seated at right) mayor Dennis Weishaar; and standing Avis Viola, Phyllis Wilson, Gary Vincent and Linda Vincent. Present but not pictured are American Legion Auxiliary member Norma Baker and city commissioners Lynn Peterson, Angela Casteel and Brenda Finn Bowers. (Photo by Dave Bergmeier)