When Schilling Air Force Base in Salina, Kan., closed in 1965, it took with it more than 5,000 jobs and an annual payroll of what translates today to more than $83 million. Despite this crushing blow, a January 2011 study by the Center for Economic Development and Business Research, W. Frank Barton School of Business, Wichita State University finds the community thriving on the former Air Force base property, thanks to strong partnerships and planning.
At the request of the Salina Airport Authority, the CEDBR analyzed the economic impact of the Salina Airport and Salina Airport Industrial Center activity. The group also analyzed the impact of military activity at the Salina Airport and in the Saline County region, as well as that of direct operations of Kansas State University.
Their study found that the total employment impact of the Salina Airport and Airport Industrial Center exceeds 10,000 workers and more than $323 million in annual payroll. Net tax impacts are estimated at nearly $16 million when combining impacts to Salina, Saline County and Kansas. Taxes to the city of Salina exceed $2 million while taxes to Saline County are more than $1.5 million. The state of Kansas realized more than $12.1 million in net taxes.
The study found that nearly 8,700 jobs and more than $280 million in payroll were due to business activity at the airport and industrial center. More than 70 businesses directly employ more than 3,700 workers. Direct one-year payroll earnings amount to more than $130.4 million while total payroll earnings amount to almost $284 million. As a result of this business activity, Salina gained nearly $1.8 million and Saline County gained close to $1.4 million in tax revenues in 2010.
The Salina Airport also supports military activity from the Great Plains Joint Training Center. Military activity in the Saline County region includes contracts awarded to companies in the region, as well as payments to retired individuals and payments to active duty, civilian, and reserve and National Guard personnel and visitors to the Great Plains Joint Training Center.
Data from active duty, reserve and National Guard, and civilian employment and wages; contracts information for the fiscal year 2010; and retiree information for the fiscal year 2010 was used to calculate the impact. Military activity in the Saline County region, which includes Saline, McPherson, Ellsworth, Dickinson and Ottawa counties, resulted in 1,555 jobs and earnings in excess of $35 million in 2009. The impact from military activity and contracts exceeded $5 million with employment impacts of more than 1,200 and earnings of $27.5 million in Salina in 2009. In 2010, the region’s impact was $9 million, creating more than 1,400 jobs that earned more than $34 million in wages. The economic impact to the state of Kansas was $10.8 million, creating more than 1,600 jobs that earned more than $38.4 million in wages in 2010. The total fiscal impact from military activity and contracts was more than $294,000 to Saline County, almost $400,000 to the Saline County region’s revenues and $1.7 million to Kansas state tax revenues.
Kansas State University Salina is located on the airport industrial center with access to the 12,300-foot primary runway. The university has established itself as a top five aviation school and offers a number of aviation degree programs. The university is also part of a consortium that forms the UAV Center of Excellence that works in research and development of unmanned technology for disaster and emergency response.
“This airport is already known for being the number one fuel stop,” said K-State Salina Dean Dennis Kuhlman. “It’s rapidly becoming the nation’s number one place for technological advances for unique applications for military, civilian and emergency first response organizations in unmanned aerial systems. This is just the tip of the iceberg of where we are going.”
K-State Salina is a major economic driver, reporting capital expenditures of approximately $580,000 creating a combined tax impact of more than $46,000. The estimated 4,000 visitors to the campus in 2010 created a tax impact of close to $19,000. With an average year-round student attendance of 716, the university creates a combined fiscal impact of almost $530,000. The total jobs impact is estimated to be close to 1,000 with 174 individuals directly employed. The total combined tax impact of university activity was estimated to be more than $850,000.
“One of the things this process does is verify the positive decisions made by the citizens,” Kuhlman explained. “They chose to support a sales tax to raise $5.5 million to support the merger that allowed K-State to become part of this community.” The numbers show that past investment was well worth it, he said. “It’s a great verification that we’re on track for the future.”
For more information: SalinaAirport.com