ALTUS, Okla. - After racking up thousands of dollars in debt, the City of Altus has had enough. It's pulled the plug on the struggling Quartz Mountain Aerospace Company. City manager Mike Nettles said the city gave the company an ultimatum a month ago: Either pay your bill or have your power shut off.
In 2007, Quartz Mountain Aerospace bought out Luscombe Aircraft. When building small aircrafts was at its peak, the company employed around 120 people. That stands in stark contrast to today.
"My understanding is they'd been in a skeleton mode for probably about six to eight months," said Nettles. He estimates the company owes the city at least $160,000 in utility bills alone. "The company kept telling us over and over again we were gonna get this bond money we were going to be able to do this and this has gone on since October of last year."
Nettles said the city gave Quartz Mountain chance after chance because they'd proven themselves before.
"The city helped them before and we got all that back. So, we had some reason to hang in there with them or give them some credibility but, that credibility eroded real quickly," said Nettles.
And the company owes the city more than utilities. Nettles said they also owe about $420,000 in loans and $10,000 for a fuel bill.
"We have one of the airplanes out there that is a production airplane that is collateral for one of the loans. And some of the equipment in the hangar that is used to build airplanes," said Nettles.
The city also owns $238,000 shares of stock. Nettles said the plane should help repay some of the loan. But, even with the failure of Quartz Mountain to make good, at least for now, Nettles would like to see more industry.
"We would still like to see additional industry whether it be manufacturing service or whatever located in Altus and we want to have money available to help them if they come."