Airport authority adjusts hangar rental rates, introduces option for annual increases

Planes sit near the runway at Michael J. Smith Field Airport in Beaufort recently. The airport’s governing body is updating all hangar and ground leases and introducing a new hangar rental rate structure to take effect Thursday, July 1. (Elise Clouser photo)

BEAUFORT — The Carteret County-Beaufort Airport Authority approved changes to hangar rental rates at Michael J. Smith Field Airport in an effort to simplify the rate structure and provide an avenue for yearly increases.

The airport authority, which met March 25 via Zoom, adopted new rental rates of 30 cents per square foot for all hangars, with the exception of hangars 29, 30 and 31, which will have a rate of 25 cents per square foot. The less expensive hangars are generally older and do not have the same amenities as newer ones.

The authority also approved an annual rate increase of 2% or an amount based on the consumer price index, whichever is larger, with the added stipulation the authority can decide not to raise rates in a given year if it sees fit. The new rates take effect at the start of the new fiscal year Thursday, July 1 and will be updated annually unless the authority decides otherwise.

“I’d want to leave future boards the discretion of not raising (rates),” said authority member Dr. Bob Coles, who helped lead the rate restructuring effort. “If there comes a time economically when renting these things becomes challenging, we’d want to give them the flexibility of not doing anything.”

Officials decided several months ago to update the airport’s rate structure in an effort to make rates more consistent across all hangars. The authority’s finance committee was tasked with examining rates at other facilities of a similar size and location as Michael J. Smith Field and come up with a recommendation moving forward.

“Our proposal to the board is to simplify the rates across the board, right now they’re all over the place,” Dr. Coles said. “…It kind of levels the playing field across the current hangars.”

Authority member Jon Breary acknowledged the change in rates could mean increases for certain tenants, especially those who have held leases for a long time.

“We need to be prepared for some negative response,” he noted.

The authority is also updating all hangar and ground leases to make them more uniform and reflect the new rate structure. Airport Manager Jesse Vinson said he would begin notifying tenants of the coming changes over the next few weeks before they take effect July 1.

In other business during the meeting March 25, the airport authority approved two budget amendments related to repairs to the maintenance hangar. It also approved the transfer of a ground lease from Charles Oliver to Hubert Tolson.  

 

Contact Elise Clouser at elise@thenewstimes.com; by phone at 252-726-7081 ext. 229; or follow on Twitter @eliseccnt.

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