LINCOLN, Maine — Lincoln Regional Airport will get a significant boost when town officials buy a 6,000-gallon aviation fuel system for it this summer, officials said Thursday.
Airport Manager David Lloyd is reviewing one proposed system and hopes to examine at least two more before recommending a purchase to the Town Council. He hopes that at $1 profit per gallon, the system will eventually generate $15,000 to $20,000 annually.
“This is very beneficial to the airport. Only revenue we have coming in right now is one hangar rental and two through-the-fence agreements,” Lloyd said Thursday. “Our goal is to get a system in place very soon so we can start selling fuel as soon as possible.”
The Town Council voted 7-0 on Monday to allocate as much as $96,000 to the purchase. Lloyd said he believed the funds will come from Tax Increment Financing funds set aside from Lincoln Paper and Tissue LLC improvement projects. Several pilots attended Monday’s meeting and said that the fuel farm would lure many more airplanes to the airport, which presently lacks fuel sales, Chairman Steve Clay said.
The pilots said they have to fuel at the Old Town and Millinocket airports after takeoffs and before landings at Lincoln during long flights, Clay said. The new system will have a credit card reader for round-the-clock refueling.
The fuel farm will make the airport more competitive economically. It should pay for itself within five years, Clay said.
The airport would have to generate $12,000 to $15,000 to attain self-sufficiency. The airport makes several thousand dollars annually in tie-down fees for five hangared airplanes, Lloyd said.
Lloyd said he hopes the aviation fuel profits can go back into airport improvements. He also seeks proposals from more fuel farm manufacturers. Anyone who manufactures such equipment can call Lloyd at 794-6658, he said.
A TIF permits a municipality or county government to use some or all of the new property taxes that result from an investment project within a designated district.
Instead of going to the state government’s General Fund and depending upon the individual agreement, part or all of the TIF money is redistributed locally between the company making the investment and the town that creates the TIF district. The funds assist in that company’s survival and to generate economic development improvements for the town.
The airport’s latest improvement is part of a town plan formulated in the mid-2000s to use Federal Aviation Administration grants to gradually build out the two-runway airport and seaplane dock in the Penobscot River and land nearby that is slated for an industrial park.
The plan is based on several aviation-based companies around the airport, which is off West Broadway and River Road, and expected nationwide increases in local airport use. Millinocket’s regional airport is among several statewide following a similar plan.
Lincoln voters in late July 2012 agreed to accept a $237,000 grant to acquire a small terminal building, a nearby hangar and about five acres at the north end of the runway that includes the campground. The town kicked in $11,850 for the purchase. The measure passed 317-105 in a special referendum.