Greensburg City Council: Airport grant funding, application questions considered at meeting

Edward J. Naughton
Kiowa County Signal
Airport image

Greensburg City Council members are facing the high cost of significant infrastructure investment that must be undertaken to even have a good chance at grant approval to support the city airport project.

During the council session on September 20, City Administrator Stacy Barnes, recommended that the city council go ahead and apply for the grant. She noted the timeliness of the matter, especially since the annual KDOT Airport Cost Share 

Council members hope to get a higher match of 50/50, earnestly committing city funds to the initial construction phase, and that the application will be more attractive to the review committee this time around. Last year the city was denied a funding grant for the airport plan.

One of the challenges the city must face at this time, is that design and engineering services are not grant eligible, and construction costs are estimated at $300,000.

Randy Kelley, Farmer's Spraying, was present at the September 20, 2021meeting and informed council members that he believed that construction can be done a lot cheaper than what is being estimated. Farmer’s Spraying is ready to begin development on their lease once water is available.

Kelley asked the council if Farmer’s Spraying could install their own septic system. Tony Sturgeon, owner of Farmer’s Spraying, also present at the meeting, asked for clarification on the construction timeline. 

Sturgeon and Kelley also asked about leasing water rights and moving forward with a water well on their own. 

Barnes has been told by KDOT Aviation and consulting firm Lochner that in terms of water rights and a well per se, that Farmer's Spraying company are highly discouraged from doing that on their own, as it could affect the possibility of future FFA funding. 

Council member Chance Little questioned what size well would be needed. The idea is that the well would service not just Farmer’s Spraying needs, but future development purposes also. 

Despite the fact that both KDOT Aviation and consulting engineers at Lochner do not recommend Farmer's Spraying be allowed to initiate a water well on their own, both Sturgeon and Kelley from Farmer's Spraying are indeed anxious about leasing water rights and moving forward with a water well on their own, as their needs appear to be conflicting with the advice given by Lochner company hired previously by the city for design, engineering and bidding of the utility infrastructure.

Commissioner Mark Trummel asked if the city has to use Lochner or if it can get bids from Southern Pioneer for electrical and the well service that primarily does work on city wells themselves. Barnes reminded council that a contract with Lochner was previously approved for these kinds of services.

Trummel asked when award notifications from grant applications were to be expected but Barnes did not have a specific date to share other that in a few months.

Commissioner Haley Kern made a motion to apply for the KDOTCost Share Grant at a 50/50 cost split, with the understanding that if we are ready to move on construction before the grant is awarded, we will move forward with our own funds. Afer a second by Pam Reeves, the motion passed unanimously.

Barnes said that discussion on a grant application for the larger development portion of the airport will be on the next meeting agenda which was scheduled for the evening of October 4.