Fours were wild earlier this month as an auction conducted at the St. Clair Regional Airport that helped clear out the city’s maintenance hangar at the facility brought in $4,444.
City Administrator Rick Childers told The Missourian that the auction went smoothly and that “everything sold.” Items included old mowers and other items that mostly were used to maintain the grounds.
Proceeds were deposited in the St. Clair Regional Airport account at Heartland Bank.
M.R. Clark Auction & Appraisal conducted the auction for the city and charged a flat $500 fee. With the fee subtracted, the proceeds to totaled $3,944.
The auction took place several months after the city opened the separate airport account on the advice of the Missouri Department of Transportation and Federal Aviation Administration and placed money in that account to pay for 2010, 2011 and 2012 storage fees to keep the items in the maintenance hangar.
A July 3 letter sent to MoDOT Administer of Aviation Amy Ludwig from Steven Broadbent of Executive Financial Services in St. Clair stated that $11,700 was received from the city for the storage fee payments and deposited in the Heartland account.
In February, the St. Clair Board of Aldermen approved the payment from the city’s general fund to compensate for use of the maintenance hangar at the airport.
The city has used the maintenance hangar at the St. Clair Regional Airport for years to store equipment. Besides the mowers, Childers said that a 4- by 4-foot pallet which stored two wastewater pumps was inside the hangar.
“This situation was referred to MoDOT Aviation, and MoDOT Aviation suggests that the city remove the items and pay to the airport fund — that would be the city paying to the airport owned by the city — money to compensate the airport owned by the city for storing things that belong to the city in the airport owned by the city,” Childers said in February.
Childers said the “magic number” amount of $11,700 was determined through a $325 per month rent payment for three years.
The city administrator added that the only “real-world impact” the transaction had is it will be less money the city has to spend later to subsidize the airport.
The two pumps were not sold at the July 9 auction. The mowing equipment included a brush hog, garden tractors, a trailer and some push mowers.
The maintenance hangar and the city’s use of it for storage previously was discussed in late 2010 when the city decided that if the hangar ever was rented to an outside party, the fee would be $325 per month.
In December of that year, the aldermen approved an ordinance establishing the $325 per month rate. At the time, however, City Attorney Kurt Voss said that even if there is an ordinance establishing the rental rate, it would be up to the city on whether it wants to rent the facility or not.
“You don’t have to rent it if you decide you want to use it,” he said, adding that because the city owns the building it serves as the landlord.
Officials decided at that time that the city would continue to use the hangar to store its own equipment.
The city is seeking to close the airport on the north side of town between Interstate 44 and Highway 47 and replace it with retail development. Permission is needed from the FAA because the city obtained federal grants to make improvements to the facility.
Officials continue to wait for word from the FAA on the closure request. Correspondence has gone back and forth between the city and the FAA as well as MoDOT.