Silver Bay contemplates ditching little-used airportWith a tough economy and Local Government Aid cuts, Silver Bay officials are discussing the possibility of closing the Wayne Johnson Silver Bay Municipal Airport southwest of the city.
With a tough economy and Local Government Aid cuts, Silver Bay officials are discussing the possibility of closing the Wayne Johnson Silver Bay Municipal Airport southwest of the city.
Mayor Scott Johnson said hardly anyone local uses the facility. “I have been a supporter of the airport,” he said. “Our airport has been budgeted by federal and state grants.”
About 95 percent of the funding comes through grants while the rest is from the city. It costs Silver Bay about $10,000 a year to run the facility using no city employees.
The city has received a total of $71,000 from the state and more than $1.5 million from the federal government. If the city decided to close the airport, it may have to pay back grants it received for the project since 1967.
City Administrator Lana Fralich said the city is simply gathering information and looking at options. No decision on closure is coming any time soon, she said.
“None of us like to lose stuff like this,” said council member Joanne Johnson. She said the city has to look at the best ways it can spend money by looking at what items affect people the most.
A new storm water pollution mandate from the Pollution Control Agency will affect the airport because planes are fueled there. It would require the city to pay $775 to be up to par with the help of a storm water pollution prevention plan. The Federal Aviation Administration is covering the other 95 percent of the cost.
The city expected $158,000 in local government aid cuts added to the $110,000 already lost in 2010 but will lose about $55,000. Figures for 2011 are up in the air. The city is trying to keep a levy increase for 2011 below 7 percent.
The city has submitted grant requests for $250,000 from Iron Range Resources and $385,000 in help from an Army Corps of Engineers program for the Banks Boulevard reconstruction project. Among ideas for the project are replacing the entire high pressure main that runs along the street and fixing the road while putting sidewalks in along with other amenities. The project will cost about $2.1 million.
Plane crash exercise
There will be a plane crash “functional exercise” at 5 p.m. Aug. 23 in the Silver Bay City Hall parking lot. There will be real flames and patients in a mock plane fuselage. Objectives of the exercise include working with multiple emergency response agencies and understating their roles, victim removal, and triage.