A unanimous vote by the Greensburg city council on June 30 launched a 30-day countdown towards the fate of six privately owned airplane hangars.
Citing the expiration of USDA funds for demolition and groundwork on the Greensburg Industrial Park, City Administrator Ed Truelove urged the council to take action on a proposed city purchase of six hangars that sit between the Greensburg Golf Course and the industrial park on the east side of town.
The city had previously discussed the six hangars, which were once adjacent to the Greensburg airport (‘City hits turbulence with hangar owners’ April 11, 2012 - Kiowa County Signal).
“I think it makes ‘feel good’ sense to offer them county appraised value,” said Truelove, who reiterated his belief that the leases signed by the owners did not require the city to compensate the owners.
Truelove presented a chart of county appraised values for the hangars, which totaled $37,480 for all six buildings. Big Well Flying Club ($6,040), Tyree Ag ($9,960), Bertram ($6,840), Farmers Spray ($4,510) and Ron Shank (two hangers combined for $10,130).
The chart also listed appraised increases of 10 and 20 percent.
Kiowa County Appraiser D.J. McMurray said that the buildings had been appraised as “storage hangars,” but that the county valuation would have been the same regardless of their proximity to an airport.
The city had commissioned a private appraisal of the buildings, but did not release the results of that appraisal.
“They are much higher,” said Truelove when discussing the private appraised value. “What [the private appraiser] is quoted as saying, and I wasn’t here when he came, was ‘I don’t have anything to go by.’ There is nothing to go by on an appraisal, there is no market standard, there is no other airport that has gone through this. Basically he took square footage and concrete and asked ‘what would it cost to build this kind of building?’ And they are expensive to build. They are very old. They are not worth what it would take to build a new one. I think that is why that appraisal was never introduced because it was so far in left field. ”
Ron Shank, a Greensburg resident who owns two of the hangars feels the county appraisal is too low.
“The county appraisal is always low, but I was always happy with it when I was paying my taxes,” said Shank. “It is far under what I paid for them. This won’t even cover what I thought was a major bargain. They are going to cost me tens of thousands of dollars because they didn’t plan ahead properly.”
Shank said that when the city closed the airport, they caused a significant drop in the value of his hangars. He said he purchased the hangars with the understanding that they airport would always be there.
Page 2 of 2 - Shank is also in a unique position because one of his hangars is still under lease with the city.
“Technically yes,” said Truelove.” But the city has not received payment on any hangars in the past two years. I think some of the people attempted to catch up with old payments and rent in arrears. I think someone said ‘here is my check for two years.’ [The lease] would be considered null and void because no rent payments have been received for a couple of years. It is considered a default on the lease if you just stop paying for it.”
Shank and Tim Tyree, owner of Tyree Ag were present at last Monday’s city council meeting and expressed their frustration with the city and the way they’ve handled their hangars.
Shank said that he was unsure what he would do but upon receiving a letter from the city began speaking with the other hangar owners.
“I have to consider it,” said Shank when asked if he would consider the offer from the city. “I guess it’s better than getting nothing. I don’t know what my options are. I can’t fight it by myself. If no one else is going to do anything I’ll have to take the offer. Getting $10,000 is better than getting a slap on the head. But this is not right and it’s not fair.”