The price tag for a proposed new 12-unit T hangar complete at Briggs Smith Memorial Airport in Memphis has the City Council considering an immediate price hike for rental fees for the existing plane storage buildings.

Project Manager Brian Garkie of Crawford, Murphy & Tilly Engineers and Consults, estimated the city’s match portion of a project that would be funded by federal transportation dollars, likely would still be in the neighborhood of $60,000 to $90,000.

While the bulk of the project cost, more than half a million dollars, would be paid for by grant funds, the local match would greatly exceed the annual revenues for the facility.

Currently hangar rent is just $50 a month for each of the 12 units, generating $6,000 annually. Garkie estimated the city would need to raise the fee to $100 to $175 per month. he noted that the Missouri Department of Transportation has STAR loans available to assist with matching funds, but would still require repayment over a 10-year period.

The current renters noted some concerns with the significant rate increases, but were in agreement that a gradual price increase implemented immediately could help generate additional funds to use for the project over the next three or four years.

The council discussed with members of the pilot committee the possibility of raising the hangar rental rate to $100 per month. All 12 units are currently full with a waiting list of more than one dozen.  The issue will be further addressed at the January council meeting.

With the likelihood of holding of using the annual federal grant funds for hangars, Garkie suggested considering utilizing the 2016 NPE funds, which are set to expire and be returned to MoDOT, to fund installation of a new beacon on a tip-down pole. 

“This would require getting power to the pole,” said Garkie. “We could also construct a small electrical vault near the apron and future hangar site and move the regulator and other equipment to it. 

There is $131,728 in grant money that is set to expire which Garkie said would cover most of the cost of a beacon, pole and vault.  The rest could be covered by the FFY 2017 NPE funds.

The city is awaiting work on an application for supplemental federal funding awards that are being sought to resurface the runway.