Sebastian council approves $1.2 million airport hangar, minus generator

SEBASTIAN — The Sebastian City Council has approved a construction contract for a new hangar at the airport, without the proposed generator.

Members of council questioned the $56,000 generator being part of the hangar’s contract, given that the item could be considered more of a want rather than a need.

Sebastian resident and businessman Damien Gilliams pointed out the generator during the public input portion of the discussion, telling the council that any interior improvements to the hangar should be on the tenant, not the city.

“It’s the principle of the matter,” he said, calling the inclusion of the generator “not acceptable.”

Councilman Eugene Wolff agreed, noting that the generator was the only “sticking point” for him to approve the contract.

Wolff told his fellow council members that he thought the hangar should be wired for a generator but not provided out-right.

“It’s not tantamount” to tenant V-Raptor Aircraft’s business, Wolff said.

City Manager Al Minner told the council that they could remove the generator from the project without issue. He added, though, that it has been the city’s standard operating procedure at the airport to have a generator to make the building fully operable.

Fellow council members Don Wright and Richard Gillmor also expressed support for moving forward without the generator, noting that cutting that expense would save the city more money.

The original budget for the hangar was $1.45 million, according to city records. But the low-bidder hired to do the work said it could be done for $1.3 million – saving the city $150,000.

Without the generator, the city expects to cut the cost of the hangar by another $56,000 for a total savings of $206,000, bringing the budget to $1.24 million.

The construction is being funded through a Florida Department of Transportation grant that requires 20 percent matching dollars from the city. The city is using discretionary sales tax monies to provide the match.

Ahrens Enterprises, of Lake Park, will build the hangar, which could be ready for move-in sometime around May 2011.

V-Raptor creates kit planes and assists in the building of the aircraft. Builder-assisted assembly and sales would take place at the Sebastian Airport, while the manufacturing of the parts would occur off-site at the Ford Wire building located elsewhere in the city.

The company expects to create approximately 20 jobs.

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