By Dale Denwalt, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
A large hanger at Enid Woodring Regional Airport will remain for sale for at least the near future.
Enid city commissioners were given a chance to buy the hangar Tuesday but declined to authorize it.
The 1980s-era hangar, which is the second-largest at Woodring, currently is owned by the Harold G. Hamm Trust and was valued at $380,000 by an appraiser.
The agenda item called for a cost to the city of $335,000, which Woodring Director Dan Ohnesorge said was the value of the building when Hamm purchased it, plus improvements made since then.
Along with storing aircraft, the hangar has office space and has an area of 10,000 square feet. The hangar is heated, a valuable lure for pilots wanting to temporarily shelter their planes.
Renting it out to pilots or businesses could bring back enough revenue to pay it off in 14 years, Ohnesorge said.
The commission, though, wasn’t moved by the proposal. In a preliminary vote meant to make the funds available to buy the hangar, four commissioners said no.
“I don’t think we should be in the hangar business,” said Ward 2 Commissioner Mike Stuber.
Ward 1 Commissioner Ron Janzen suggested the city wait another six months, with the possibility that the price could go down.
One of the three supporters, Ward 3’s Ben Ezzell, said buying the structure was a gamble, but a “bet worth taking.”
“Our worst-case scenario is over 15 years, we’re losing $100,000 on it,” he said. “But if it goes well, we have this big economic incentive token to wave under someone’s nose.”
Ward 5 Commissioner Tammy Wilson and Mayor Bill Shewey joined Ezzell in support, while Ward 4’s Rodney Timm, David Vanhooser of Ward 6, Janzen and Stuber voted against the proposition.
The issue of PEGASYS’ role as a city-funded entity again came up in Tuesday’s meeting. On the agenda were two items to fund the public-access television station — one worth $185,000 for operational expenses and another worth $240,000 so it could relocate to The Non-Profit Center.
PEGASYS needs to move so LodgeWell Group can begin demolition at the Kress Building. LodgeWell will leave the facade of the Kress Building and construct a Hilton Garden Inn there.
Vanhooser opposed the two spending items for PEGASYS, especially when he said he believes the entity could undergo changes that might mean it would need less space to operate.
“I’m just asking for more time before we devote city funds to this issue,” he said.
Vanhooser explicitly stated he does not think the city should completely cut off funding or shut down the service. Instead, he said, the contract with PEGASYS should allow the agency to adopt methods supporting itself. Instead of the 12-month allocation of operational funds, he suggested a six-month contract.
“If a year’s what it takes, OK,” he said. “I’ll be here for another three and a half more.”
In supporting the relocation and budget allocations, Ezzell said a discussion on how to redesign PEGASYS will have to wait.
“There is a time for that, but it’s not now,” he said, adding that critiquing expenditures for PEGASYS should not take place while they are “dangling under the deadline of being evicted by us.”
The measures passed, although Vanhooser voted against both agenda items, and was joined by Timm on the relocation expense question.
Agenda items approved
In other business, the commission approved amending the current budget to reflect expenditures approved last year amounting to nearly $13 million for streets, stormwater improvements and Enid Renaissance Project, among other infrastructure items.
The city also will levy an additional $46,685 from the ad valorem tax rolls to pay out a workers’ compensation judgment from a 2006 injury suffered by a former employee.
More than $30,000 set aside but unused for the 2006 Southgate Road Improvement Project was canceled, and the commission authorized Cole & Reed P.C. to audit the city’s finances for the fiscal year ending June 2013.
Commissioners also approved previously budgeted program funding to Leonardo’s Discovery Warehouse, Youth and Family Services of North Central Oklahoma, Booker T. Washington Community Center and Main Street Enid.
A planned boutique hotel that could have rooms ready by Christmas will be asking for an incentive from the city, the developer told the commission during an informal study session before the meeting.
B.H. Tower LLC, owned by Johnny Peart, bought the tower in December 2012. Peart said he will have more than 70 hotel rooms, office space, restaurants and retail shops when renovations are complete.
The cost of renovation will be about $2 million, he said. The incentive agreement could be worth $236,000, and would take 1.5 percent of the taxable sales from room rentals and send them back to the company.
The rebate would not take funds from hotel/motel tax revenue, but rather sales tax revenue.
Peart said he is not concerned that the Broadway Tower Hotel will be near another downtown hotel — the one being built by the LodgeWell Group — mainly because his hotel will be a tourist attraction not tied to Enid Event Center.