Updated 12-03-2013 7:15am
The Kalispell city council voted 6-2 to approve a 3 1/2 year contract with Red Eagle Aviation for management services of the airport. The contract was approved with an amendment that would require Red Eagle to log complaints, enforce any airport regulations that the council might adopt during the terms of the agreement, and the snow plowing schedule would be at the discretion of the city.
Councelors Robert Hafferman and Tim Kluesner offered the dissenting votes.
Tonight Kalispell city council is set to vote on accepting a contract from a private company, Red Eagle Aviation, to manage operations at the city airport. City Manager Doug Russell tells us that this is a budget-driven decision and the city has been considering options for quite some time about how to manage the airport more efficiently.
If the proposed contract is approved Red Eagle Aviation would receive $36,000 annually from the city and an additional fee for each snow-removal event as well as collecting tie-down fees from aircraft owners.
The City of Kalispell believes the proposed change, that replaces a part-time city employee who currently manages the airport, would save the city about $13,000 a year. That money would stay in the airport fund for things like renovations and maintenance.
Russell says he expects there to be some discussion at the council meeting tonight but he calls the savings significant when compared to the approximately $80,000 total annual operating budget for the airport.