Springfield, MO

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AIR SPACE: Springfield Aviation Director Brian Weiler says there already is interest in the two new planned hangars.
SBJ photo by Jessica Rosa
AIR SPACE: Springfield Aviation Director Brian Weiler says there already is interest in the two new planned hangars.

City Beat: City airport set to expand

A state grant will fund 90% of two new corporate hangars

Posted online

City Council on Aug. 26 unanimously approved a resolution allowing the Springfield-Branson National Airport to accept grant funding that largely will pay for a second phase of improvements at the general aviation airport.

Nearly $886,000 from the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission will cover the bulk of the $984,330 project to add two new hangars. The city’s airport board is providing funds to cover the remainder of the costs, said Aviation Director Brian Weiler, who addressed council before the vote.

The state commission will fund the project through a Missouri Department of Transportation airport aid agreement, which comes out of the state aviation trust fund, Weiler said.

Springfield-Branson National Airport oversees the GA airport, located on the east of the property off the Kearney Street entrance. The national airport handles commercial flights, while the general aviation airport manages corporate and charter flights.

During Phase I of the project four years ago, the airport used a $5.1 million grant to add eight corporate hangars, according to Springfield Business Journal reporting at the time.

“It’s the area just north of the former airline terminal,” Weiler told council.

Three hangars, two by OzAir Charter Service and one by O’Reilly Automotive Inc., have been built following Phase I, he said, and the airport leased its last available hangar in December 2018 to TJS Supply Co., doing business as Metro Appliances & More.

Companies leasing space in the GA airport include Worldwide Aircraft Services Inc. and Aviation Enterprises Inc., according to the airport’s website. “We started working with MoDOT at that time getting ready for this project,” Weiler said.

After the designs of the new planned hangars and taxiway work were completed by Crawford, Murphy and Tilly Inc., Weiler said the airport solicited bids on Aug. 9. The airport board awarded a $924,430 bid to Emery Sapp & Sons Inc. before council’s vote, and Weiler said the goal is to start construction early next year.

Weiler said the airport owns 50 hangars for smaller single-engine aircraft that are leased out on a monthly basis. He said the goal is to build another 30 hangars in the next five years.

The two hangars funded by the latest grant may not be vacant for long.

We already have interested parties in both of those spots, so we’re trying to accommodate tenants that want to build facilities at the airport,” Weiler told council.

He also said a 750-spot parking expansion is planned.

“It is coming. This time next year, we will have it,” Weiler said.

Energy issue
Council also considered withdrawing its membership from the Missouri Clean Energy District but unanimously approved a motion to table resolution until Sept. 23.

Missouri Clean Energy is a statewide political subdivision providing capital for efficient and renewable energy projects, according to its website. It provides financial opportunities for energy efficient improvements to residential and commercial customers under the Missouri Property Assessed Clean Energy bill.

Councilman Mike Schilling sponsored the bill to withdraw, citing a letter in May from the Environmental Advisory Board of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that expressed concern to both the city and the Greene County Commission.

The letter identified problems of Missouri Clean Energy not filing annual reports with local municipalities, a lack of an economic benefit statement for projects, loan limit issues and mortgage lender concerns in its PACE program, Schilling said.

“We have accountability issues here that are concerning,” Councilman Abe McGull said.

Schilling initially had proposed the city join Missouri Clean Energy, but now he’s recommending withdrawal.

Council is not the only government entity rethinking its membership. The Greene County Commission pulled out of Missouri Clean Energy the week of Aug. 19, said Jan Millington, deputy city attorney.

Springfield joined Missouri Clean Energy in July 2015, according to city documents.

Matthew Wine, a real estate attorney at Spencer Fane LLP, addressed council in support of Missouri Clean Energy.

“My concern is if we approve the resolution as drafted tonight, it will remove us from both the residential and commercial programs, when the commercial has a valuable benefit to the city and is a tool for developers,” he said.

Wine is representing a $51 million housing project downtown that’ll be seeking Springfield Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority approval. He suggested grandfathering any current Missouri Clean Energy applications if council decides to leave.

Speaking to the residential side, architect Jeff Barber told council he has been involved with Missouri Clean Energy since then-Gov. Jay Nixon signed it into law in July 2010. In that time, Barber said $33 million worth of lending has been completed statewide for the residential sector.

“That’s 2,200 homes and 325 jobs created,” he said of the Missouri Clean Energy programs.

In Greene County, Barber said $2 million for 113 homes has been issued since December 2016.

Tax levy set
Through a unanimous vote, council voted to reduce the city’s property tax levy.

Springfield Finance Director David Holtmann addressed council on the final step to set the real and personal property tax rates.

The new rate, which state law requires to be established by Sept. 1, is 61.29 cents per $100 assessed for the 2020 tax year.

“The levy is down from last year, which was 62.18 cents per $100 assessed valuation,” Holtmann told council. “The city’s assessed valuation rose to just over $3.2 billion with an increase of just over $170 million.”

New construction and newly added territory made up $52 million of the valuation increase, he said. Real property carried a $2.59 billion valuation, with personal property valued at $584.6 million. State assessed utilities made up the remaining $23.6 million.

Expected to generate $21.4 million, tax levy collections mostly go toward municipal purposes, at 26.36 cents per $100 assessed.

Other areas funded are public parks, at 18.47 cents; public health, 12.59 cents; and the Springfield Art Museum, 3.87 cents, according to city documents.


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