WARSAW – The city airport has tentatively agreed to hire a new consultant, pending approval of a financial agreement.
The board of aviation accepted a recommendation Tuesday, Dec. 10, from a local selection committee to hire CHA Consulting Inc., of Indianapolis, as the consultant.
Mary Kerstein, a project manager for CHA, was introduced to the board and said she looks forward to starting work with the city when she meets with Airport Manager Nick King and others on Wednesday.
CHA beat out two other bidders, Butler Fairman & Seufert, and Hanson, both of which have offices in Indianapolis.
The airport’s current consultant, Ken Ross, NGC Corp., did not submit a bid.
Board President Jay Rigdon and Mayor Joe Thallemer both expressed gratitude to NGC.
“Ken Ross and NGC provided an invaluable service to this board and our community and I certainly want to thank them for all the work they did,” Thallemer said.
Rigdon said all three bidders were well qualified but said CHA stood out a little bit more than the competitors.
The selection committee hosted interviews with the three firms and each of the five committee members gave the nod to CHA, Rigdon said.
As the consultant, CHA will assist with all grant writing, strategic planning and engineering for future airport projects, King said.
Thallemer noted that CHA will soon be taking on the “mammoth process” of helping the city see that the power lines at the end of the east-west runway are lowered, a move that will allow the airport to consider runway expansion.
The city recently learned that it had received about $6.3 million that will cover the costs of lowering the lines.
“The money’s great, it’s allowed us to get started, but there’s a lot of work … Our selection was critical and I feel very gratified,” Thallemer said.
Unlike most government services, which are selected based almost entirely on a monetary bid, federal policy requires airports to select consultants based on the company’s merits and then negotiate financial arrangements after the initial selection, Rigdon said.
In other matters, the board agreed with King, who recommended the board look into purchasing two new pickup trucks for plowing, one of which will serve as King’s take-home vehicle.
The board also approved changes to the guidelines for courtesy cars at the airport that are made available to pilots and passengers for short errands.
The board agreed with recommendations from King that a $15 fee be charged for users of the courtesy car who are gone for between two and four hours and $35 for those who want to use it overnight.
The board approved the policy change.
The airport’s courtesy car program relies on a 2001 Taurus and a Buick formerly used by Mayor Ernie Wiggins while he was in office. King and the board discussed the need to possibly replace one.
The airport is seeing more and more requests to use the courtesy cars, King said.