City Updates Airport Policies on T-Hangar Usage

July 13, 2017
Dwayne Page
Smithville Airport Manager Joe Johnson

The City of Smithville is updating its policies at the airport in regard to the use of Corporate and T-Hangars.

Airport Manager Joe Johnson presented the proposals to the mayor and aldermen Monday night, which have also been recommended by the city’s airport board. The aldermen voted to give their blessing.

Johnson said the first step is to renew leases with the current tenants, which hasn’t been done since 2011. The leases are currently for one year at a time.

The city has sixteen T-hangars and two corporate hangars and all are occupied. Tenants of the T-hangars pay the city $115 per month and the monthly rent for the corporate hangars is $225.

Tenants will now have the option of paying their entire years rent in one lump sum payment at the current rate or they may continue to pay monthly, but at a higher rate of $125 per month. Those who have corporate hangars can also pay up front for the year at the current rate of $225 per month or at the higher rate of $250 if they choose to continue to pay by the month.

Johnson said by paying up front for an entire year, the tenants get a price break while the city has more cash on hand to use for immediate airport needs.

The hangars are a good source of income for the airport having generated around $29,000 last year. If the city had more hangars, Johnson said that income alone could perhaps make the airport self supporting.

“We’re trying to attract as many airplanes as we can to keep our hangars full. If we keep them full we have a chance to get more t-hangars. I’m trying to keep the rates as low as I can to be competitive with other airports, yet take care of the city too. If we had one more set of nine hangars at the airport, that would generate enough revenue to be self supporting from the rent and we would be able to sell more fuel,” said Johnson.

The city has taken advantage of federal and state grant funds over the years to make airport improvements. In most cases the city’s portion of the cost has been as little as five percent of the grant amounts. But with the federal funds comes regulations and in the case of the T-hangars, the city has adopted an FAA policy with regard to their proper use.

According to the policy, the hangars must be used for the storage of active aircraft; final assembly of aircraft under construction; non-commercial construction of amateur-built or kit built aircraft; maintenance, repair, or refurbishment of aircraft, but not the indefinite storage of non-operational aircraft; and the storage of aircraft handling equipment, such as towbars, glider tow equipment, workbenches, and tools and materials used in the servicing, maintenance, repair, or outfitting of aircraft.

Anything that impedes the movement of the aircraft in and out of the hangar or impedes access to aircraft or other aeronautical contents out of the hangar is prohibited.

Airports are subject to FAA inspections and if violations of the policy are discovered the city could be at risk of losing federal airport funds.

Any tenant not in compliance with the policy will be sent a letter asking them to adhere to the terms of their lease and FAA regulations or risk being evicted.

Although the hangars are currently occupied, the city has a waiting list of potential tenants and a policy has been developed on who gets first choice. Generally, its on a first come-first served basis, but Smithville residents are given first priority and then DeKalb County citizens.

Johnson is also working on a policy in accordance with city and state fire marshal regulations to identify items not permitted for storage in a hangar which could pose a fire hazard.

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