Glenwood Springs City Council pauses airport’s jet fuel sales
As a result of safety issues identified by a Glenwood Springs Fire Department official, City Council voted Nov. 4 to pause jet fuel sales at the Glenwood Springs Municipal Airport.
Fire Marshal Greg Bak submitted a letter to the city manager Oct. 26, stating the airport’s current fueling station did not meet fire code standards, and advised the facilities should be brought up to code by Nov. 26.
City Manager Debra Figueroa told council members $300,000 in the city’s 2022 budget — comprised of the airport’s enterprise fund reserves and money from the city’s general fund — could be used to purchase and install a 12,000-gallon Jet A fuel tank.
Figueroa said the tank size increase was recommended by Meredith Fox, the airport manager, after conversations with Classic Air Medical about a desire to purchase more fuel if it were made available.
The current Jet A fuel tank is located on private land, but is used to fuel aircraft on city property, making the safety issues a liability concern, Figueroa said.
The airport’s Jet A fuel is primarily sold to Classic Air Medical, which uses it to fuel their medical transport helicopters. During an earlier work session, the city’s airport commission told council none of the planes currently housed at the airport use Jet A fuel.
Several council members expressed concerns about spending a large amount on a new Jet A fuel tank before the Airport Commission was given an opportunity to present additional options or propose a suitable location for the tank.
Council Member Steve Davis made a motion to pause jet fuel sales until the council agreed on a safe solution to the fire marshal’s concerns. Mayor Pro Tem Charlie Willman seconded the motion, which passed 5-2, with council members Tony Hershey and Shelley Kaup voting against.
As part of the council’s vote, $300,000 slated for the new fuel tank was pulled from the 2022 budget. Instead, the council directed staff to work with the Airport Commission before submitting a new recommendation, complete with funding options.
Airport Commission member Dave Merritt said Classic Air Medical is temporarily providing its own fuel until the commission and council decide on a safe solution for dispensing Jet A fuel at the airport.
“Right now, they have a small truck-mounted tank out there with less than 100 gallons capacity to fuel up their helicopters,” Merritt said. “And they are looking at bringing in a larger truck-mounted fuel tanker to supply their helicopters in the interim.”
City staff met with the Airport Commission last Monday, and Merritt said he is in the process of drafting a pro forma for the purchase of a new Jet A fueling facility. That could be presented to council during its Nov. 18 regular meeting.
Reporter Ike Fredregill can be reached at 970-384-9154 or by email at email@example.com.
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