Monticello City Council plans to bring operator to the airport
by David Boyle
Members of the Monticello City Council approved negotiations for a Fixed Base Operator (FBO) at the city airport, appointed a new seat to the committee and discussed a variety of other items at their latest meeting.
At the September 27 meeting of the Monticello City Council, members met with Elliott Arthur to discuss opportunities to become the FBO at Monticello’s city airport.
Arthur is the President of NorthEast Planes Aviation, a company located in Laramie, Wyoming offering flight training and maintenance since 2006. Arthur reported after visiting the area several times over the past two decades he’s had his eye on expanding operations in Monticello.
Fixed Base Operators are common at municipal airports throughout the US. FBOs often lease property at a public airport and run the airport providing basic services such as providing fuel and maintenance for aircraft. FBO’s can include a wide variety of offerings including offering flight instruction and aircraft rentals.
Arthur shared with the council that in addition to operating the airport as the FBO, he also envisions expanded opportunities for tourism dollars via aerial tours. With Arthur already running flight instruction in Laramie he says he has a large number of qualified graduates that are looking for jobs in aviation.
“I did a little exploring, market research, it should be easy for me to compete with people in Moab. Those that do fly fixed wing aircraft charge 1$40 for a one hour tour. So I did my planning, worked up a spreadsheet and decided I could charge $99 a seat and make a fair amount of money.”
In addition to aerial tours, fuel services, and other offerings; Arthur shared a vision of creating an air taxi charter operation and establishing an internship program for high school students.
Proposed benefits for the city would come from increased tax revenue and jobs in the area, with the added benefit of removing the airport maintenance responsibilities from the list of tasks for city staff.
City manager Evan Bolt reported that the latest economic study of the airport reported $730,000 of economic impact to the county.
“It does bring in a lot of traffic. People come into town to golf, eat, and stay at a hotel. It’s making our airport that much more friendly for people that are traveling through. At little to know cost for the city. The fuel agreement will be lined up where they’ll purchase the fuel, do maintenance but we will receive a small tax returned to the city. It’ll really help the overall management, appearance and serviceability of that airport.”
Mayor Bayley Hedglin signaled her support for an FBO agreement for the city airport.
“When we look at all of our city resources, all of our assets, how are we managing them and how are utilizing them to the best of our ability. This is a way that we can take the airport and really step it to the next level.”
Members of the city council unanimously approved the city move forward with drafting a contract for FBO services at the airport with Elliott Arthur.
At the meeting council also acted on another airport item. The council approved the appointment of Skyler Trimmier to the city airport committee.
Also during the meeting the council discussed a variety of items including a brief update on the golf course.
Council member Nathan Chamberlain said that Hideout Pro Jeff Simmons is reporting revenue is up from last year with merchandise sales up, while rounds of golf are down, overall income is down as well.
Chamberlain said the condition of the course is also improving especially with recent rain. City council did share however that maintenance equipment remains an issue as a greens mower became irreparable just last week.
At the meeting council also reported that a motorcycle group of about 300 will be holding a Combat Veterans Rally in Monticello in May of 2023. The event is anticipated to fill the town for the weekend of May 19-20.
During the meeting council also discussed making volunteer opportunities available to residents, with a particular interest in repainting city curbs as the city gets set to implement a new parking ordinance in the coming weeks.