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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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022013TWINCOUNTYAIRPORT.jpg

NEW MEMBERS—The Twin County Airport Commission has seen a 50% turnover in membership for 2013. New members for this year are from left: Chris Plutchak, Menominee County Commissioner, Mary Johns, Marinette County At-Large, and Charlie Meintz, Menominee County Commissioner. They join Ted Sauve, a Marinette County Supervisor, Jason Lauzer, Menominee County member-at-large, and Nick Lakari, aMarinette County Supervisor, to form the Airport Commission.

Airport Commission Gets Phase 2 Update

Nancy Douglas, head of the task force for the Phase 2 Study project at Twin County Airport, delivered an update on the work of Explorer’s Solutions to the Airport Commission’s Tuesday, Feb. 19 meeting.

Douglas reported on the task force meeting from the end of January, noting that Explorer’s has been compiling research work trying to find a niche for Twin County.

Three areas seem to be emerging as possibilities. The first is use of the airport by companies that may wish to locate fixed and rotary wing maintenance facilities here. The second area is companies that may wish to start a flight school based at the airport and third is more use of the airport for charter flights.

As for the charter service, Douglas felt that a more local push would probably be needed, but didn’t see it as a stand-alone possibility right now.

Douglas also talked about trying to generate interest from a couple of small European aircraft manufacturers who might be considering expansion into the U.S. market.

As for right now, it looks like Explorer’s will proceed more with the first two options and come up with a plan to make it happen. When that is ready, the Commission would have to form a Steering Committee for that purpose.

Douglas said that Explorer’s should have a solid proposal in place by April of 2014.

Douglas went on to talk about the expansion plans at Enstrom Helicopter could play into the airport’s plans. She suggested having the city and/or town declare the entire airport property as an Industrial Development District. Such a move could help in any airport development design because it could offer tax incentives for some types of industry who may be interested in coming to the airport.

In other matters, the Commission discussed an update from the Open House Task Force. Menominee County Commissioner Charlie Meintz expressed concern about the Open House having a budget of $10,000, wondering if the money could be better spent on some other project.

Marinette County Supervisor Ted Sauve remarked that the Commission didn’t have to spend all the money but the decision was made to set that budget amount in case it was needed for something special.

Other members of the Commission also questioned if a large amount of money really needed to be spent to bring people out to the airport.

Later in the meeting, Sauve said that a “big ticket” item he had hoped to bring to the Open House, the Anheuser Busch Clydesdales, had to be removed from consideration because of cost and because of scheduling issues.

With the Open House less than six months away, many aviation groups are already booked. The suggestion was to have the popular Young Eagles program move their flight experience to the date of the Open House. More Open House matters will be discussed at next month’s meeting.

Airport Manager Tony Krysiak explained what a Minimum Standards Document is and why the airport needs to further develop one. Such a document would only apply to commercial users of the airport, and would be very helpful as Phase 2 of the Explorer’s Solutions study progresses so that businesses know exactly what the airport will provide.

When the point was raised if the people from Enstrom should be invited to the discussion, the consensus was “not right away.” Any changes to the document could stipulate that Enstrom would be ‘grandfathered in.” A special meeting was called for Monday, March 19 at 5 P.M. to work on the document.

While still discussing the Minimum Standards, mention was made that before they are adopted, one particular Menominee County ordinance would have to be changed.

Commission Chairman Jason Lauzer led the discussion on a proposed user/tenant survey. He had emailed each commissioner a sample survey based upon what other airports are doing. Meintz suggested adding a section on airport staff and interaction, and also an area for other comments.

Commissioner Chris Plutchak stated he received a couple of letters asking for the reintroduction of the topic of grass runways. He would like that question added to the survey as well.

In the end, the Commission decided to ponder the survey for a month, emailing Lauzer with their suggestions for inclusion.

Lauzer reported he and Krysiak had looked for the results of a survey conducted three or four years ago, but for some reason those results did not stay in the airport files.

The Commission approved the Executive Committee forwarded Calendar of Events. The document is meant more for the Commissioners so that they know when they should start working on various items. The document more-or-less mirrors a calendar from last year.

The Commission approved sending back to the State of Michigan, through Menominee County, $4,250 in loan excess money. In 2012 the Airport borrowed $55,000 from the State of Michigan to install an addition to the fuel farm. The project came in under budget by $4,250. Since the project was on the Capital Improvement list with the Federal Government in 2015, the loan will be paid back when those funds arrive.

The Commission approved the January financial reports. The monthly vouchers were $65,114.42, most of which was the payment for the fuel farm installation.


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