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Lander signs on for money guarantee for air service; no total specified

Oct 24, 2017 By Kelli Ameling, Staff Wrier

On a split vote, the Lander City Council has joined in a memorandum of understanding with the City of Riverton and Fremont County government to help assure continued commercial air service locally.

The MOU outlines an agreement to provide a minimum revenue guarantee to Denver Air Connection for 2017-2018.

The MRG helps ensure DAC will continue providing air service to Fremont County through Riverton Regional Airport.

Great Lakes Airlines, which had served Riverton Regional for more than 20 years, has announced it will discontinued service next week.

Agreement

The MOU outlines how the money will be dispersed, stating that an independent consulting firm will manage airline ticket inventory, set ticket prices and monitor airline management strategies to maximize revenue and minimize the demand on the MRG fund.

If there is money left over in the MRG fund at the end of the 2017-2018 fiscal year, the MOU states that amount will remain in the fund to be utilized as a contribution for future guarantees.

The MOU also states that, if the agreement between Riverton and Key Lime Air - which operate as DAC - is terminated, the MRG money will go back to the three entities based on the percentages contributed.

Split vote

The Lander council approved the MOU in a 3-1 vote Oct. 10, with president Cade Maestas and members Melinda Cox and Mark Calhoun voting "aye," while vice president Monte Richardson voted "nay."

Councilmen Dan Hahn and Dick Hudson were not present at the meeting to vote, and Mayor Del McOmie only votes when there is a tie.

Richardson said he was concerned that the MOU might require Lander to give more than the council promised, because the agreement doesn't specify any amounts.

During the 2016-2017 fiscal year, Lander agreed to give $200,000 toward the MRG. However, because of budget constraints, the city only committed to giving $100,000 this year.

Maestas said there is no set amount each entity must offer for the MRG.

"Our council decided that is what we could spare from the budget this year," he said.

He added that, "regardless of (the airport's) name, (it is) the county's airport."

Riverton Regional is the only commercial airport in Fremont County. Airport board members recently have discussed changing the name of the facility.

Air service impacts prominent employers in Riverton, Fremont County and Lander, he said.

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