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City hopes decrease attracts more planes to airport’s T-hangars

Washington’s City Council, during its recent budget work sessions, unanimously voted to decrease rental fees for T-hangars at Washington-Warren Airport in hopes of attracting more planes to the city-owned airport.

An increase in aircraft at the airport likely would generate additional revenue for the city by way of fuel sales and taxes on the aircraft.

“What we found is that our T-hangar rental is not comparable to nearby airports that have T-hangars. We’re getting $240 a month. Greenville is getting $200 a month, and they’ve got electricity and electric doors,” Councilman Doug Mercer said. “Long discussions at the airport board … and the recommendation was that we reduce the rental fee for the T-hangars without electricity to $180. When we put electricity in, which we’re going to start to do this year with money in this year’s budget, the rate goes to $195.”

Of the 21 T-hangars at the airport, 15 are rented and six are not, according to city officials. Aircraft owners have to manually open hangar doors, the hangars have no lights and some hangar roofs leak, Mercer said. “He (airport manager Earl Malpass) can’t fill them up. The goal is … to put electricity in a third of them this year and then, hopefully, we can rent those six that are empty so we’ll get a quick return on or money. Next year, we’ll do the next third, and the following year we’ll do the final third,” Mercer said.

Councilman Roland Wyman said Malpass conducted a survey concerning hangar fees nearby airports charge, and that information helped the airport board reach its decision to recommend that the city lower the rental fee for T-hangars at the airport.

Current T-hangar renters at the airport would begin paying the new rates when their leases expire and renew them, Mercer suggested. Wyman said Malpass has talked with current T-hangar renters about the proposed fee changes, with those renters supporting them.

“Everybody feels it’s the way to go. Ultimately, we’ll rent those other five or six hangars and the increased rental from those hangars will pay for about half the maintenance,” Mercer said.

The increase in revenue from hangar rentals likely would offset the revenue lost by decreasing the rental fees, city officials indicated. About three or our new tenants would provide the revenue needed to accomplish that, according to calculations by the city’s finance department.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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