Good signs: Sales taxes, airport growth

December 22, 2012

A jump in sales tax revenues and a helicopter maintenance facility planned for the airport are signs that an ailing economy is on the mend, according to Granbury City Manager Wayne McKethan.

McKethan said that last year was a record year for sales tax revenues, but the first few months of the current fiscal year have proven to be even better – 10 percent higher than last year’s, he said.

“We’re feeling very good about the sales tax activity going on in the city of Granbury,” McKethan stated earlier this week. “I think everybody’s feeling a little more comfortable with the economy. We’re seeing more traffic and more business activity. Everything in the economy seems to be going up here.”

McKethan said the planned Knox Ranch residential development west of town near the airport will have a significant impact on the economy, as will a regional maintenance center at the airport that will service helicopters from Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Arkansas. In addition to creating new jobs, the center will bring in pilots who will stay in local hotels and eat in local restaurants, he said.

Last week, the Granbury City Council approved the airport hangar lease contract with Air-Evac EMS, Inc., which has agreed to move its regional maintenance facility to Granbury. The company will be paying the city for use of a 100 by 100 hangar and will hire as many as 10 employees. Their salaries will average between $60,000 and $70,000.

“We see that as a real stimulus for our economy,” McKethan said.

The hangar is expected to be completed in April. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has committed a half million in grant funds for taxiways. McKethan said the transportation agency has not yet given a date on when the taxiways will be completed.

The hangar contract is for three, five-year terms, at $1,432 per month, which is the cost of financing for the hangar.

McKethan said that another hangar will be built to house four large King Air airplanes that are independently owned.

“We have a list of 66 planes waiting for hangars,” the city manager said, adding that the city has budgeted $1.6 million for hangars “to create that cash flow for the airport.”

“The fact that we get to house the airplanes here – it creates additional revenues,” McKethan said. “That’s very good cash flow as well.”

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