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Airport Authority scraps plans to seek federal grants for ramp project

In an attempt to cut through some governmental red tape, the Dickinson Municipal Airport Authority on Tuesday voted to scrap plans to seek just more than $30,000 in federal grant money for airport improvements.

Airport manager Matthew Remynse said the move would serve to sidestep new Federal Aviation Administration requirements pertaining to the ramp project.

"This would mean less paperwork and less hoops to jump through," Remynse said. "In the grand scheme of a million dollar project, $30,000 is not that much."

Remynse added that he didn't want to "alienate local contractors" from potentially bidding on the ramp project because of stringent federal guidelines on what types of materials need to be used in construction. Bids are set to open for the project Aug. 26.

"Without the $30,000, this is a state project with no federal assistance," Remynse said. "We could even use those grant funds for other projects."

Authority chairman Jon Frantsvog said waiting too long for a successful bid for the project -- which Remynse said is a top priority right now for the airport -- would be a "big problem" for the airport.

"We need to stay ahead of the game," Frantsvog said. "It's only going to get worse come winter time, so we don't have the option of (waiting), we need to get this ramp done. Local (contractors) are busy right now. "

Depending on whether the runway is paved or made of concrete, Remynse said the project would cost anywhere from $850,000 to close to $1 million, with concrete being more expensive. Remynse said the airport could potentially use grant money that had been tagged for the runway toward a new snow removal equipment storage building.

In other action, the authority voted to approve its budget for 2014. Excluding projected capital improvement expenditures of more than $250,000, the airport is slated to have total operational expenses of $812,652 and operational net income of $334,137, which would put the airport with a cumulative net income of nearly $82,000.

Commissioners Craig Steve and Dan Porter were not present for the meeting.

Bryan Horwath
A Wisconsin native, Horwath has been covering news in the Oil Patch of North Dakota since 2012. Horwath currently serves as the senior agriculture and political reporter for The Dickinson Press and, despite the team's tendency to always let him down, remains a diehard Minnesota Vikings fan.
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