Lebanon to vote on hangar rates, councilor wards

·3 min read

Oct. 19—Lebanon has been going back and forth over raising hangar rental rates at the airport and has also been exploring the best steps for the redistricting process after new census numbers came out. At tonight's regularly scheduled meeting, it will vote on both.

Raising hangar rental rates has been a contentious issue between the city council and the airport commission. Rate increases are a kind of indicator for hangar-space demand at the airport, which currently has a waiting list of more than 130 people, with no signs of slowing down.

Staying competitive with regional airports is the driving force behind the rate increases, but that force is nuanced. Ideally, the airport would charge comparable rates as similar-sized airports, but there are also ambitions to expand. Any such expansion would require incoming revenue, not to mention standard maintenance of the property.

During the airport commission meeting earlier this month, a number was agreed upon that Lebanon's commissioner of public works, Jeff Baines, called a compromise. The increase would be for 20%. That rate increase would be locked in on a four-year contract, with another increase of 20% before the start of year three.

In total, this would result in an increase of 44%, as the increase is compounded.

This increase will only affect hangars in rows A and B at the airport. There are currently 35 hangars between the two rows.

Redistricting

Following the release of the updated census numbers, Lebanon is now forced to revisit the wards which its councilors represent.

Redistricting is a relatively routine process. However, because growth is what drives redistricting, each time it requires unique outlines to equitably distribute populations among all six wards.

During a work session last month, some city councilors opened the door to the possibility of expanding the council to include more members and increase constituent representation. However, at the latest work session on Oct. 14, it was decided to keep the number of wards the same, with only minor modifications to outlines being made to account for population increases.

Lebanon is now home to more than 38,000 people. Kevin Cross, the city's geographic information system (GIS) manager, was able to get each ward within just a few hundred voters, with the largest being ward 1 at 6,623 residents, and the smallest being ward 3 with 6,139 residents.

Mayor Rick Bell commended Cross for a timely and effective solution to the issue of redistricting.

"Kevin (Cross) has done a great job on this," Bell said on Monday. "Redrawing these lines is more difficult than it seems. I'm happy with what he's done."

Bell indicated that he was not the only one who was satisfied with the proposed map, citing the councilors who were at the work session consenting to vote on it at the city-council meeting tonight.

The council officially convenes at 6 p.m. tonight in Lebanon City Hall, located at 200 N. Castle Heights Ave.

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