Airport management submits 90-day notice

The entrance to Minden-Tahoe Airport.

The entrance to Minden-Tahoe Airport.

After 13 years operating Minden-Tahoe Airport, ABS has submitted its 90-day notice to Douglas County.

Airport Director Bobbi Thompson said they were notified the county intended to send out a request for proposals for new airport management last year.

Between the possibility the contract would be terminated at the end of the year and Airport Manager Frank Monack departure this month, Thompson said it was only right the company withdraw from the contract.

“We’re sad that we’re leaving, and we wish them well in their search,” she said. “Our company has plenty of work and plenty of things to do. We like being here, but we’re done.”

County Manager Patrick Cates thanked the company for its service.

“The Minden-Tahoe Airport is an important asset to our community, and we are working to prevent any disruptions to airport operations as we make this transition,” he said.

Douglas County intends to find a new management company and will be issuing a Request for Proposal in the near future.

“This RFP has been planned for more than a year and is ready to go,” Cates said. “Public contracts should be put out to bid periodically in a competitive and transparent manner in accordance with state procurement laws. This provides the best value for the taxpayers.”

Thompson looked back at the things the company had to do when it was first hired in 2010.

“When we were brought here we had three primary things to do,” Thompson said. “First of all, make the airport safe. Then, secondly, was the financial condition of the airport because it was losing a lot of money. And then community relations. There used to be all those anti-airport groups in town.”

Despite her impending departure, Thompson still uses “we” when describing the airport management.

“It’s been about 10 years since we got the airport financially solid,” she said. “And since then, we don’t get a penny from the county. We’re entirely self-sustained for our grant matches and everything.

We’re the only airport in the state that’s entirely self sufficient.”

That includes Carson City’s airport, which though it is mostly self sufficient still has to ask the city for grant matches, she said.

“We think that’s important; we contribute tenants’ taxes for aircraft and hangars so that’s about a half a million dollars to the county in property taxes,” she said. “We think we have a distinct value. Certainly, we believe the community has enjoyed the air shows. Half of our vendors at the air shows are nonprofits. We don’t charge them anything. We’re fortunate to have the jet teams that we’ve had, especially for such a small community, that doesn’t happen anywhere else.”

According to the state, the airport brings in $56 million each year.

“There comes a time when things, whether a marriage or a job, where they have run their course,” she said. “We’d like to see it continue to be a success.”

Both Thompson and Monack will continue to make their homes in Douglas County. Thompson is president of the Douglas County Business Council and has been president of the Chamber of Commerce and a variety of other community boards.

Airport management had been criticized by pilots, who felt there wasn’t enough attention paid to the operation.

Complaints include closing bathrooms and spending grant money on things like developing the east side of the airport.


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