Lynne Hermanson
Special to Gardner News
Updates on airport insurance for hangar tenants at the Gardner Municipal Airport was provided at the Feb. 1 council meeting. Council members had requested staff to find out information on the necessary requirements for airport tenant insurance at a previous council meeting.
“As I understand it, what’s going on out there in the rest of the world at other airports, everyone requires certain insurance requirements for lessees,” Terry Norwood, chief executive officer with Midwest Public Risk told council members. “If you lease an apartment, storage shed or rent a car. All that’s being said, what we’re asking is those who operate aircraft are responsible for their own actions.”
Norwood said it would require a formal rental arrangement at the airport and the current contract is within the realms with everything in the Midwest. Minimum limit would be $500,000.
“The airport premise would be covered for liabilities,” he said. “If a pilot hits a hangar door etc. Generally [liability] a throw in and not a big cost or additional cost.”
Norwood said he met with a gentleman who works with Lockton on aviation matters.
“It’s recommended the City of Gardner is included in the agreement,” he said. “This is not something the council had to deal with in the last 10 years. City may face those who object to this. This is fairly common. I think it’s very imperative and important that anyone, not just the airport, have insurance. It’s a common occurrence.”
Dale Rose, Overland Park pilot, told council members that he had gone to the Johnson County Commission office. “They do not require insurance for individual leases for their hangars at the Johnson County Airport,” he said. “And there are no state or federal requirements for insurance for an airplane.”
Cam Blazer, former airport board member, said it’s not a big problem if you have airplane insurance. “Aviation insurance is one thing, and we fly an airplane into a hangar – you’re getting it all,” he said. “It’s a big change. Coverage only is available after everything is exhausted. The airplane has to do damage. I think you’re a long way from getting what you’re asking for.”
Jerry Gippner, pilot, said he’s never been asked for insurance before in the years that he has flown.
“We all agree that we have to be responsible for ourselves, but are we responsible for your buildings,” he said. “The airport has always held responsibility for buildings etc. Communication is the real problem. I don’t know what you want. Is there a logical way of coping with this. I don’t have an answer.”
Norwood said that he had spoken with a broker about the Johnson County Airport. He said he promised to go back and check the rules.
“First of all, wow what a rational conversation,” he said. “What you got is a small group of folks who are self-insured. ultra lights won’t be covered by insurance. That’s a problem, but they don’t meet the standards.”
Norwood said the city is primarily self-funded. “When we talk about the coverage of a loss no one is coming to help the City of Gardner,” he said. “Do we want to cover private for public causes? We’re not trying to be hard about this. I think we could create something not astronomical but not be paying for it.”
Steve Schute, councilman, said one third or more of the pilots fall within the category of experimental aircraft. “I think you have a lack of understanding of demographics,” he said. “There’s a significant amount of experimental pilots, hobbyists and people who build their own aircraft, and that’s the problem. This is a experimental airport. What’s the plan of liability if it’s not leaving the hangar. That’s a concern.”
Schute, also asked about creating seasonal insurance for seasonal flyers that use the airport.
Lee Moore, councilman, asked about an example of a pilot burning down a hangar in 2015 before the requirement took place. “Hangars used to be covered by the airport board, but we now own the airport,” he said.
Norwood said the city’s property is always covered.
“We are not responsible for the individual,” he said. “They cover their own property.”
Moore said he had interacted with a lot of flyers. “Hangar insurance doesn’t come across my desk often,” he said. “No one’s ever heard of it when I ask around.”
Schute asked about pilots who can’t find or get insurance. “Do we not allow people?” he said. “Do we kick them out?”
Chris Morrow, mayor, said it would be an act of negligence to allow uninsured pilots to use the hangars. “The city’s liability costs goes up because of a lack of control on the front end,” he said.
Rich Melton, council member, asked if a fee to get insurance through the city were possible. And Schute asked if a group insurance plan versus an individual insurance plan would be a better deal.
Norwood said the city would not want to become the insurer of someone’s property.

GE Chamber requests annual contribution

Jason Camis, Gardner-Edgerton Chamber of Commerce president, requested council approval for the mayor’s authorization for $20,000 to execute the Memorandum of Understanding with the Gardner Edgerton Chamber of Commerce for 2016.
“After 40 years, the model for the chamber is changing and being revitalized,” he said. “What’s the chamber going to look like in next 40 years.”
Camis said the chamber serves both community and business every day.
“We’re information central with a comprehensive database of 1100 records,” he said. “We’re focused on economic development to help fill jobs and connect residents to jobs.”
Camis said they also focus on new residents, travel information, tourism and marketing and helping connect people. He said they have changed their name, branding and rolled out a new website this month.
“We are starting to get involved in community issues,” he said. “We’re raising awareness in Johnson County and the region.”
The chamber currently has 125 paying members. Camis said they pay based on their needs ranging from $330 to $10,000.
Moore asked where the $20,000 for the chamber comes from.
“It’s existed for a while,” Camis said. “Everyone would say I’m dumb for not asking for more, but we’re comfortable at the level and feel we could do it well.”
Melton said he thinks the $20,000 request is reasonable. “I think there are lots of potential and services you could offer,” he said.

In other business:

• The city approved adopting an ordinance revising the position and classification system and pay plan for 2016 along with personnel policies. The city has recently employed the Gardner Municipal Airport’s Maintenance Worker on a part-time basis-a position that did not exist. The city also promoted an electrical operator from apprentice to full time. Part-time positions with the city were defined as less than 20 weeks, but will now be less than 40 hours a week. The new job classifications will be full time, part time and seasonal or temporary employee.
The city also approved the Marshall Wind Farm Project Renewable Energy Power Sales Agreement with Kansas Municipal Energy Agency. The purchase agreement is for 20 years at a fixed rate of $33.80 per MWh. It is being funded through the Electric Fund 2016 budget.