Significant economic boosts provided by the Stockton Municipal Airport to the city and county were discussed along with its budget and other issues during the Stockton Airport Board’s recent meeting. At the board’s Tuesday, Sept. 8 meeting, a discussion over the importance of the airport included what it brings to the community. According to information from a study the board gave to Elva Weber, Cedar County economic developer, the airport provides a $452,000 benefit to the city and surrounding areas in the county in jobs, tax revenue, airport revenue and private sector business income.
“There is positive economic impact from a fully functioning airport,” Weber said. She added city officials should support the facility and look for ways to increase its role in the city.
Ralph Rissmiller, board president, said the airport itself was never seen as a profit producer, but what it does for the community and local business is significant. The proposed airport budget put together by the board lists $17,100 in revenue and $21,000 in expenses. The budget would have come close to balancing except it includes a $3,000 increase in maintenance expenses. This year’s budget listed the maintenance figure at $1,000, Rissmiller said.
During the meeting, improved groundskeeping was discussed. Before Labor Day weekend, according to the board, grass was about 3-feet tall near the pilot’s quarters, and about 1-foot-tall around the rest of the airport. Rissmiller praised airport manager Brandon Cahill for responding to the situation and cutting the tall grass near the pilot’s quarters. Cahill, board members said, went out on his own time to do the job during the holiday weekend.
Volunteering time and effort has been a positive for the airport. During the past three years, about $75,000 in time, material, sweat equity, resources and volunteer work has been contributed to the facility. Board members said they wanted to thank those who have contributed to making the airport successful and functioning.
A concern Rissmiller had was the city’s failure to take advantage of a major donation, about 100 tons of gravel. He said the city simply has to pick it up and then use it for airport parking, the entry road into the facility and any other areas needing gravel. The gravel has been made available to the city since January 2014 by Gordon Asset Management, yet nothing has been done to collect and use it. The only work the city has to do, Rissmiller explained, involves preparing the land and removing weeds.
In other news, Rissmiller told board members about how MoDOT has included the Stockton Municipal Airport in its contract bids for runway improvement work. He said the state agency has sought bids for similar work at airports across the state and will require each city to provide matching funds for the work. Local money for the work was included in a $40,000 capital improvement proposal sent to Stockton’s Board of Aldermen.
Attending the airport board meeting at the Stockton Chamber of Commerce were board members Rissmiller, Mary Norell and Bill Seitz. Absent from the meeting were members Bruce Yarnell and Brady Wright. At the conclusion of the meeting, the board set their next meeting for 10 a.m. Monday, Sept. 28.