Miller Field Airport report highlights LED lighting and crack sealing

Photo courtesy of City of Melfort Aerial picture of Miller Field Airport, Melfort.

Nicole Goldsworthy
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

MELFORT – City council in Melfort reviewed the 2023 annual report for the Miller Field Airport at their governance and priorities committee meeting on April 23.

The report reviewed its annual operations. Currently the airport is used and relied on by multiple communities, including the City of Melfort, RM of Flett Springs, Willow Creek, Star City, Kinistino, Pleasantdale, Town of Kinistino, Naicam, St. Brieux and others. 

Aerial applicators and private planes are estimated to perform about 2,687 movements annually. In 2023, air ambulance had 82 movements (41 missions). There are currently 16 occupied lots being leased, 15 with permanently constructed hangars, and 11 lots available for lease. 

City staff perform many duties to keep airside and groundside facilities maintained including snow removal, de-icing, grass mowing, runway inspections, general maintenance, and wildlife control. 

The report said that local funding for general aviation airports varies depending on how an airport is owned and operated, but generally provided through tax revenue and usage fees collected by the airport owner. Melfort receives revenue through existing lease agreements, services offered, fuel sales, and if available, grant funding. All tax revenue is paid by hangar owners directly to the RM of Flett Springs.

Lease Revenue: $11,058; There are currently 17 lease agreements in effect from which the city received revenue.

Fuel: $79,035; The City currently sells aviation and jet fuel at a 30c per litre markup.

Grant Funding: $37,740; Sole grant revenue source has been the Ministry of  Highway’s CAP grant. (shared cost for crack sealing)

Other: $178; The City has a fee schedule identifying charges for commercial/courier usage, parking, and plug-in services. Miller Field operates on an honour system as full-time staffing is not justified with revenue received or svices. Envelopes and drop off boxes are accessible from the terminal building. 

Total $128,011

2023 Expenditure: 

Air GPS Maintenace: $9,108; An annual regulatory review of flight check is completed by JetPro Consulting. Every fourth year a more  comprehensive review is completed which has an increased cost. 2023 required a comprehensive review. 

Fuel: $72,801; fuel for resale (AV & Jet) 

Additional Operations: $75,480; In July 2023, the City completed crack sealing on both the taxiway and runway (Half of this expense was recouped through the Ministry’s CAP grant).

General Operations: $41,000: This expense includes but is not limited to, high speed internet, telephone, insurance, equipment repairs, site repairs, air bank charges, utilities, chemicals and salt, building repairs, staff training etc. 

Total $198,389 

At various times improvements or capital requests are required or presented to the City. Some of these require planning with the assistance of consultants. 2023 examples are: completion of the LED project, preliminary planning for feature plan, surveillance costs, and preliminary planning for the possible internal taxi-way paving. These are not included in operations and are allocated to capital projects. In 2023 the City of Melfort incurred $18, 519 in engineering and planning costs.

The City assisted with capital projects and improvements. In 2023 the City focused attention on safety improvements with crack sealing of the taxiway and runway. Past improvements have included new LED lighting, apron rehabilitation, fuel pumps, and taxiway rehabilitation. Over the past five years, the City has invested approximately $1,190,936 for improvements at the Miller Field Airport.

The Melfort Airport – Miller Field is a medium-sized general aviation airport, owned and operated by the City of Melfort, located two miles west of the city.