Aztec approves bids for municipal airport improvements


Aug. 25--AZTEC -- Commissioners approved three proposed bids for future Aztec Municipal Airport improvements. All of the approved bids are contingent on funding beyond what already has been granted by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Earlier this month, it was announced that the FAA granted the Aztec Municipal Airport more than $1.2 million in grant money. However, the city is asking for an additional $500,000.

The funding would go toward reconstruction of the local airport's main runway. , According to Airport Manager Mike Arnold, the runway is cracking, crumbling and warped in a fashion that prevents pilots from having full-sight of the runway upon landing.

However, without the additional funds, Aztec Finance Director Kathy Lamb stated that the project would not be feasible. According to Lamb, without each portion of the project, the runway would not be functional.

The additional $500,000 would lead to a project totaling $1,793,000 -- with 95 percent of the cost paid for by the FAA's Airport Improvement Fund. According to Arnold, this fund is the accumulation of fuel, ticket and other airport taxes paid across the nation.

The other five percent of the money, amounting to $89,664, is supposed to be split equally between the state and the city of Aztec. According to Lamb, the city is requesting that the state agree to pay 80 percent of the share leaving Aztec with 20 percent of the cost.

If the state does not agree to pay 80 percent of the share, Lamb

claims the project still would be within the city's means assuming that the FAA agrees to grant the additional $500,000.

Airport Manager Mike Arnold said the project is important to the city since it was recently categorized as an airport within the Federal Aviation System. In other words, in case of an emergency at surrounding commercial airports, planes could be directed to Aztec's airport.

"Feds won't send planes to [airports not in the same category] because there could be a cow on the runway," said Arnold, proud to finally be in the Federal Aviation System.

Arnold claims that the airport has as much air traffic as the Farmington Airport, and that Aztec's airport is important when county trials take place. Lamb added that the airport is useful to commuters, recreational fliers and to airplanes used in putting out wildfires.

The bids were in the amount of $60,838 to WHPacific for basic construction services; $179,140 to WHPacific for construction services specific to runway reconstruction; and a little more than $1,425,000 to Sterling Brothers Inc. also for runway reconstruction improvements.

Jenny Kane: