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Williams News | Williams, Arizona

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8/19/2014 3:25:00 PM
New maintenance coordinator at Williams Airport

Marissa Freireich
Williams-Grand Canyon News Reporter

WILLIAMS, Ariz. - In exchange for hangar space at H.A. Clark Memorial Field, the city of Williams has gained an airport maintenance coordinator, which will relieve other city staff members from dealing with airport related responsibilities.

Jason Engelke currently works as an airplane mechanic for Grand Canyon Airlines. He's been working with the city since 2012 to come up with a maintenance agreement for the Williams airport.

Under the independent contractor service agreement that the City Council approved at its Aug. 14 meeting, Engelke will receive hangar space that he can use to complete his mechanic work in exchange for completing maintenance at the airport. For the time being Engelke's hangar space will be in the old flight school.

However, the city is working on adding 10 T-hangers to the airport this coming spring, and Engelke may move to a different hangar at that time. The Arizona Department of Transportation will provide the city with a loan for about $507,625 to pay for the hangars, and the city will repay the loan over 20 years.

The typical monthly lease payment for one of the city's hangars is about $300, according to City Manager Brandon Buchanan. In exchange for his use of the hanger, Engelke will provide weed control, equipment checks, fuel inspections, light replacement, security inspections, wildlife control, and snow removal at the airport using city equipment.

"That's all stuff that right now it takes staff time to go out, stop what they're doing with their normal job and go out and do that," Buchanan said. "So this really would be a big burden off the staff that's already got plenty to do."

He added that the agreement would be beneficial to the airport.

"I think now having activity out there with 10 hangars plus Jason's services as a mechanic, I think it's that first step to getting that activity we've been working on for several years now," Buchanan said.

In other news, the city council approved the purchase of two new vehicles, which will be used for the public works and building departments.

The trucks were originally budgeted for the building and police departments.

"Chief (Herman) Nixon graciously volunteered to allow us to use (the police department's vehicle) for the time being, because he's had quite a few vehicles come to his part of the fleet recently through grants and he acknowledged some of the deficiencies we have system-wide with the rest of the vehicles," Buchanan said.

If the city has some contingency money available in April or May, the city would return the truck that was originally intended for the police department and then buy a third vehicle for the department that had been using it.

The building department will receive a 2014 F-150 XLT, which cost $31,770 and the public works department will receive a 2015 F-250 XL, which cost $29,637. The total for the new vehicles came out to $61,407, which was less than the $65,000 budgeted for the two vehicles.

The city council also approved the purchase of a more efficient software for the transfer station, which will cost about $10,135. The software that is in use now was created in-house about five years ago. It requires operators to manually input the weight of the truck when entering and exiting the transfer station, tally the weight, calculate the bill, and enter the amount into the computer, according to a staff report from Public Works Director Kyle Christiansen to the mayor and council. The billing is not compatible with the software in the finance department, which further complicates the system.

In his report, Christiansen said the new system "would reduce the possibility of human error in calculating refuse weights and cash handling, communicate remotely and directly with Finance Department software, and eliminate the constant need for 'work-arounds.'"

Further improvements to the transfer station software are planned in next year's budget.

Finally the council approved a wine and beer liquor license for the Dollar General Store at 401 N. Grand Canyon Blvd. A representative from the company said the store has liquor licenses in 20 states.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, November 8, 2014
Article comment by: Ken Nebrig

Sure glad to see a proper manager out at the Williams Airport. The airport has suffered from lack of business because there is nobody manning the facility who can help passengers with fueling, maintenance, rides into town etc. if Williams wants activity at this excellent airport, they have to devote resources to making it a place people want to fly in to. This is a good start. Airports are a critical component of a community. Just ask the air ambulance, firefighting, charter and general aviation users who quietly provide services to the community without a lot of fanfare. This airport is a true community asset.

Posted: Thursday, August 28, 2014
Article comment by: Ron Pauly

The airport. Money sucking black hole. It should have been left like it was about twenty years ago.

Posted: Friday, August 22, 2014
Article comment by: Keith Wilmot

How many flights a day are there at the Williams airport?

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