Council hopes reduced hangar rates bring pilots back to Willmar
WILLMAR -- Hangar rental rates will be going down Jan. 1 at the Willmar Municipal Airport under action taken by the Willmar City Council. Council members hope the reduced rates will fill seven empty hangars vacated by pilots who moved their planes to airports charging lower rates.
Willmar has 18 hangars. Rates depend on the width of the door. The present rates of $160-$180 per month, plus utilities, will be reduced to $120-$140 per month. The Airport Commission recommended the rates be reduced. Neighboring airports are charging $100 per month with utilities included, city staff.
Council member Denis Anderson asked if the reduced rates will affect the airport budget.
"Our hope is that because of the reduced rents we'll be able to lease out the empty hangars, thereby making up what's lost here,'' said City Administrator Michael Schmit during a recent City Council meeting. "If we're not able to do that, we'll have to deal with it at some point in the budget year because it is less revenue.''
Doug Reese said the Public Works/Safety Committee, which supports the new rates, was hoping the city would rent more hangars and that income loss would not be significant.
Ron Christianson added the committee wanted to keep the present tenants "because there has been talk of several of them moving out if we continue the rates. We want to hang onto them and rent more.''