Washington County is hiring a Virginia company to prepare a marketing plan for Hagerstown Regional Airport, which the county owns.
Airport Director Phil Ridenour said the Washington County Board of Commissioners started talking a year and a half ago about creating a plan.
The plan will cover how to strengthen existing aviation-related businesses at the airport and how to attract new businesses, he said.
It also will look at the future of local air passenger service and how to develop air cargo business.
The commissioners voted 4-0 on Tuesday to award a $130,400 contract to AvPORTS of Dulles, Va., the sole bidder. Commissioner John F. Barr was absent.
A memo prepared by Karen R. Luther, the county’s purchasing agent, says individuals and firms downloaded the county’s request for proposals document 76 times.
Three firms attended a conference to talk about the project, the memo says.
In the end, though, only AvPORTS bid on the project.
Luther said it is a specialized type of work.
Commissioner Ruth Anne Callaham said county officials generally are more confident after a bidding process in which they get several responses and can compare cost estimates.
Later, Ridenour said another company that the county was considering hiring previously gave a cost estimate that was in the same range.
The county will have up to $150,000 to pay for the plan, including the possibility of later cost overruns.
Half of the money — $75,000 — will come from a grant by the Appalachian Regional Commission, an economic development agency.
The county is paying for the other $75,000 from its Capital Improvement Project budget.
If the project comes in at $130,000, as projected, the leftover $20,000 will go back to the Appalachian Regional Commission, according to County Administrator Gregory B. Murray.
Power Marketing, a Hagerstown company, will work with AvPORTS in areas such as local field research and the possibility of improving the airport website.
Ridenour said Power Marketing is, in a sense, a subcontractor for AvPORTS.
The work is expected to take about four months to complete, Luther’s memo says.