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Airport reduces hangar fees

Like everyone else, the current economy is hitting private and business airplane owners hard.

That's why the New Richmond Regional Airport is cutting hangar fees for 2009, in an attempt to help those struggling to hold onto their hangars and keep their airplanes in the air.

"The airport revenue comes primarily from leases for hangar lots as well as a portion of the personal property taxes assessed on the hangars," said Mike Demulling, airport manager. "The airport is doing well financially. We came in well under budget in 2008. We are working very hard at doing the same this year."

With that in mind, the Airport Commission approved lowering the lease rates charged to hangar owners by 10 percent for this year.

"We are, in theory, providing our own type of stimulus program," Demulling noted. "General aviation, especially recreational flying, has taken a big hit in the current economy. Business aviation is suffering too, but appears to be on a slight upswing. The Airport Commission is hopeful the small discount on the lease payments for this year will bring some good news to general aviation and encourage the local pilots to take to the sky again."

In other airport business, the Airport Commission is working with area businesses to make sure any promotional lights they may use don't bother pilots who are using the local airport.

The airport has a land use zoning ordinance that was enacted several years ago that prohibits shining lights in a way that would cause glare for pilots using the airport or prevent a pilot from seeing the airport.

A few weeks ago, a downtown business used multi-directional, promotional search lights, Demulling said. The lights were shining into the landing pattern for the airport.

The Airport Commission approved a motion indicating that such lights do in fact cause glare and will be problematic if they are used in the future.

"We are hopeful that any future use of similar lights will be discussed with the city prior to use in order to prevent any conflicts," he said.