City plans to annex Tucumcari Airport

By Chelle Delaney: Quay County Sun

On Aug. 1 the Tucumcari Planning Commission will hold a public hearing to discuss bringing the Tucumcari Municipal Airport facility within the city’s limits.

Annexing the 1,100-acre aviation facility means the city will benefit from additional tax revenue and the property and facility will be protected, by law, by city services such as police and fire department, said Richard Primrose, Tucumcari city manager.

“It makes sense to have all city property in the city limits,” Primrose said.

It may also look attractive financially.

“This is the first year we have not had to subsidize the airport from the general fund,” Primrose said.

Increased revenue can be contributed to increased traffic at the airport, Primrose said. Small city airports are enjoying more traffic because some business executives and corporations find it more convenient to charter or fly their own planes instead of using commercial carriers at larger city airports, he said.

Combine that with the airport’s proximity to the Ute Lake Ranch project, which also accounts for increased flights, and the airport has seen increased revenue through, among other things, the sale of aviation gas and the leasing of hangar space.

Meanwhile, another city property, on 11th Street where the gold-domed, Rattler city water tank is located, has already gone through the same process. It will be considered for annexation by vote by commissioners at the City Commission’s next meeting on July 27, Primrose said.

In the past, the city has subsidized the airport’s operating budget and has, on the recommendation of the Tucumcari Economic Development Council, used a portion of the economic development tax to pay for projects at the airport.

For example, some grant projects that have been awarded to the airport require a 2.5 percent contribution from the city, Primrose said. If a project costs a $1 million, the city would be required to pay $25,000.

This way the airport can contribute to its own upkeep and projects through the city tax, Primrose said. If annexed, the city would receive 3.075 percent of the gross receipts, he said.

The airport property does not abut the city’s boundaries and it is necessary to have contiguous properties to be “in” the city limits.

So, the city’s bringing its city limits to the airport.

After discussions with the state and county officials, Primrose said the city is also annexing a section of land along Frontage Road until it meets the airport property.

The city’s Planning Commission will hear comments at 5:15 on Aug. 1 and take written comments up until that time.

The Planning Commission members will vote on the annexation and make a recommendation to the City Commission, at which time the City Commission is expected to vote on the proposed annexation of the airport.