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Marketing campaign will take flight




The Hays City Commission approved spending $25,000 for marketing the Hays Regional Airport at its meeting Thursday.

The allocation from the commission's Financial Policy Projects account will be combined with money from the airport marketing fund, the Hays Convention and Visitors Bureau and Ellis County Coalition for Economic Development.

The publicity campaign will include advertisements on television, radio, digital billboards and in print.

Although the measure passed 3-0, Commissioner Kent Steward questioned why public funds were helping advertise the new carrier, SkyWest Airlines.

"It seems like a heck of a deal for a business to let somebody else pay for their marketing, I still don't understand that," he said. "But I don't have a problem passing this because clearly it's important for our community to do it."

Toby Dougherty, Hays city manager, said the airline carrier did provide assistance with creating the ads.

Commissioner Eber Phelps said the airport can receive a $1 million grant from the federal government if it records at least 10,000 boardings in a year. The funds can pay for certain projects at the facility.

"We didn't get the $1 million last year because of all the cancelations ... in my opinion, it's sort of an investment to try and recoup that and make sure we get that this year, especially with all the improvements we're getting ready to make and all that we've already made," Phelps said.

Mayor Henry Schwaller IV and Commissioner Shaun Musil did not attend the meeting.

* The accounting firm Adams, Brown, Beran and Ball reviewed the city's 2013 audit. The representatives said nothing unusual was noted.

* An Aug. 14 public hearing for the 2015 budget was set.

* Appointments were suggested for several community groups.

* Paul Briseno, Hays assistant city manager, said the 2014 water conservation rebate program has distributed 328 showerheads and rebates for 131 high-efficiency toilets 11 urinals and 96 high-efficiency clothes washers.