MERIDEN — After the price for five new hangars planned for Meriden Markham Airport came in higher than budget, the City Council on Monday night voted to increase the project’s budget by $300,000.
The council voted 10 to 2 to increase total bonding for the project from just over $3 million to about $3.3 million.
The council opted to increase the budget rather than reduce the number of new hangars from five to four, an option recommended by City Manager Tim Coon.
It would have cost $2.87 million to construct four hangars, officials said
City officials see the hangars as revenue generators and project the city will see a return on its investment in about 20 years based on projected rent payments from pilots who lease the hangars.
There are currently about 70 pilots on a waiting list for hangar space at the municipal airport, according to city officials.
“This resolution before us is an opportunity to capitalize on additional revenue that is going to (be) a great benefit to the city long term,” said Councilor Miguel Castro, a Democrat.
Council Minority Leader Dan Brunet, a Republican, argued that four new hangars were “sufficient.” Brunet and We the People councilor Walter Shamock voted against increasing the budget.
The council originally planned to approve an additional $405,000 for the fifth hangar, however, the city was able to negotiate the price of the fifth hangar down from $500,000 to $395,000, according to former city purchasing officer Wilma Petro, who retired this year but has stayed on to oversee certain projects.
The council on Monday also voted 9 to 3 to authorize the city to hire an architect to design a proposed banquet facility at the city-owned Hunter Golf Course.
The council authorized the city to bond up to $120,000 to hire a firm, which will be charged with designing a facility between $1.3 million and $1.5 million.
The $120,000 figure represents 8 percent of the projected total construction cost of $1.5 million, which Coon said is standard.
The council had previously authorized bonding $875,000 for the banquet facility, however, the city scrapped the project after councilors did not like the appearance of the building it would have gotten under that budget.
The $120,000 will be paid for with previously approved bonding.
The council voted Monday to lower the bonding authorization for the project from $875,000 to $120,000.
After designs for the building are complete, the council will then get to decide whether or not to move forward with construction.