Airport may receive funding
April 17, 2019
The Southwest Wyoming Regional Airport may receive funding from the county to help pay for design of the commercial terminal.
Pending an approval of a budget amendment in the amount of $133,333 at the next Sweetwater County Commissioners’ meeting, the airport will receive money to help pay for the conceptual design phase portion of a proposed commercial terminal project.
During the meeting, airport director Devon Brubaker said the funding was requested of the Commissioners last year in an attempt to try and obtain Federal Aviation Administration funding for the terminal project. At that time, the Commissioners decided not to support giving the airport money for the conceptual design.
Brubaker said he is supposed to hear back sometime this week from the FAA on whether the airport will receive the funding.
“But, I’m not holding my breath,” Brubaker said about waiting.
He said the design phase of the project should be done by the end of May, but the airport will be ready to hit the pause button if the funds don’t come through or move quickly if they do. If the airport receives the funding, it will be ready to start construction within one year.
“We’d definitely have to come back and ask for funding for the project,” Brubaker said.
It could cost Rock Springs and the county anywhere from $700,000 to $3.7 million for the terminal project if the airport receives the FAA funding. The county could cover two thirds of the cost of the project.
Should the airport not receive the funding, the project will still happen, but under a different funding stream, Brubaker said. He said they will need to find 10 to 14 grants instead of two or three grants, which will take longer. He anticipated the project would start in 2021 instead. Brubaker said they will not let the design sit on the shelf. It will be used.
Brubaker said the city of Rock Springs wanted him to ask the commissioners if the county has intentions of helping pay for the design portion of the project. Because the county didn’t wanted to want to pay their share of $133,333 out of the $200,000 needed to complete the design phase, the city of Rock Springs covered the full amount.
The city of Rock Springs wants the county to reconsider and help out with this project.
Commissioner Jeffrey Smith, who is the airport board’s liaison, said the city of Rock Springs wants its money now so it can get it back into the budget.
“You haven’t committed to anything, that’s why we’re here today,” Brubaker said.
Chairman Wally Johnson said he still wouldn’t support the funding request because he’s afraid the designs will just end up sitting on the shelf. He also felt the money should be placed in the airport’s budget for next year’s budget.
The rest of the commissioners disagreed.
Smith said the city of Rock Springs carried the project and the commission needs to help pay for it.
A motion was made to prepare a budget amendment in the amount of $133,333 to the airport, which would be placed on the next meeting’s agenda for a vote.
The Commissioners passed this motion in a 3-1 vote. Commissioners Randy Wendling, Roy Lloyd and Smith voted in favor, while Johnson voted against.