Danville City Council will consider increasing non-commercial hangar rental fees at Danville Regional Airport.
Transportation Director Marc Adelman proposed raising the rental fees by $25 per month - $300 per year - during City Council’s work session Tuesday night.
Maintenance costs for the airport’s hangars have increased and a survey of other airports in Virginia and North Carolina showed Danville’s total fee requirements are much lower on average, Adelman said.
The fee increase would offset those higher maintenance costs, he said.
“These hangars are 20 years old or older and are requiring more and more maintenance,” Adelman said Wednesday.
City councilmen informally agreed during the work session to put the proposal on the agenda.
About $100,000 was spent last year rehabilitating the hangars at Danville Regional Airport.
Total revenue currently generated by the 35 non-commercial hangars is $83,940, and will be bumped up by $10,500 if the fee increase is imposed. Total revenue from rental income from all properties – including the 35 non-commercial hangars – is $125,162.64.
So, while the fees will cover some hangar maintenance, tax dollars also cover the upkeep.
Mayor John Gilstrap said the increase would be unfair to owners of smaller aircraft kept at the airport and that he will vote against it.
“I don’t see any consistency or fairness in the fee structure at all,” Gilstrap said Wednesday.
Under the fee structure, an 80-foot-by-80-foot corporate hangar requires a fee of $1,015 per month, while the smaller-sized t-hangar in an older unit with sliding doors is $125 per month. With the $25 increase, the renter with the smaller plane would see their rate increase by 20 percent but the one with the corporate hangar would see a roughly 2-percent increase, Gilstrap pointed out.
The airport has a total of 36 aircraft in its 35 non-commercial hangars. Averett University has seven aircraft – which would not be affected by an increase – at the airport.
There are two corporate airplanes at the airport, Adelman said.
Discussion whether to increase the fees could have easily waited until January or February when city officials talk about the next budget, Gilstrap said.
The city has numerous fees including those for cemeteries, garbage collection, recreation and other items, “if we pull those out and discuss them one at a time, we’re going to fill our entire schedule discussing nothing but fees,” he said.
Fees should be discussed as a whole, with councilmen bringing up particular fees if they need to be addressed, he added.
It would be more fair to charge hangar renters per square foot, Gilstrap said.
Councilman Gary Miller said he is in favor of the increase. It’s a small hike, he said, that won’t cost the airport any renters of the hangars, which need to be maintained.
“You have to make improvements to keep your hangars up and in good condition,” Miller said.
He disagreed that the fee increase would be unfair to owners of smaller planes.
“No matter the size of the plane, you’re renting a space,” Miller said.
Parking fees for cars in larger cities aren’t based on how big or expensive your car is, he added.
Hangar rental fees for a t-hangar at Shiloh Airport in Sandy Ridge, North Carolina, are $248 per month, according to Adelman’s comparison. Tuck Airport in South Boston is $135 per month for a t-hangar, and $270 per month for corporate-shared two small aircraft.
A t-hangar at Blue Ridge Airport in Martinsville is $120 per month.
With the increase, Danville’s total fee requirement for both hangar rent and the personal property tax rate on aircraft would be far less than all other airports annually due to the current tax rate on aircraft, Adelman said.
A proposal to increase the airplane personal property tax rate failed in City Council this past spring.
The current lease term for hangar tenants at Danville Regional Airport goes through Dec. 31. The lease calls for providing tenants with a 60-day advance notice of a proposed lease fee increase.
John Crane reports for the Danville Register & Bee. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (434) 791-7987.
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