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City will pay for hangar construction out of general fund

By Staff
Leada DeVaney, Hartselle Enquirer
Hartselle officials are opening up the city's wallet to pay for the first of what they hope will be several new hangars at the municipal airport.
The city is spending $189,000 from its general fund to finance the construction. Hartselle City Council had solicited financing from several local banks, but said it would be cheaper in the long run not to pay interest on the loans.
"The money would be better taken out of the general fund because of the small amount of interest we're receiving on it," versus the interest the city would have to pay to finance the project, Department of Development Director Jeff Johnson said.
Johnson said after the initial expenditure, the city would be eligible for grants to pay for future construction.
"That would mean more hangars and more rent for the city," Johnson said.
The first hangar will house some seven planes. There are currently 38 people on a hangar waiting list at the airport. The council approved the expenditure on a 4-2 vote, with Councilmen Don Hall and Alvin Abercrombie voting against the plan.
Hall said he would like to wait and let grants pay for the entire process.
Hall said the city could be eligible for a $150,000 grant with the city putting up 10 percent of that cost. Also, Hall said, half of that 10 percent might be paid by the Alabama Department of Transportation.
"That would mean only $47,000 out of (the city's) pocket," Hall said.
Hall said there are 14 aircraft housed in the current hangars and the tax money they generate – some $600 in ad valoreum taxes per year – isn't worth the city's investment.
However, Councilman Frank Jones said waiting on grants would mean a loss of revenue for the city.
"These hangars will be immediately rented," Jones said. "If we have to wait on grants, it could be two years," he said.
Councilman Tom Chappell agreed. "We should pursue grants for the second or third hangar," he said. "But I'd like to see us get the construction under way."
The hangar project will now go out for bids.

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