News and Tribune

July 25, 2013

A new day: South Central Regional Airport Authority holds first official meeting

By MATT KOESTERS
matt.koesters@newsandtribune.com

SELLERSBURG —

The Clark County Board of Aviation Commissioners is no more. Officials ushered in the era of the South Central Regional Airport Authority at its inaugural meeting Wednesday at Clark County Regional Airport.

The meeting was also the final meeting of the air board, which is now defunct except for the purposes of the management of one grant through the Federal Aviation Administration. The air board’s final act was to adopt a resolution that transfers all of the board’s holdings and debts to the authority. 

“Today’s a significant day in the history of this airport,” said authority Vice President Jim Baker. “I’m just proud to be a part of it.” 

The Clark County Council approved an ordinance officially establishing the airport authority at a special meeting May 29. The ordinance passed unanimously. 

Unlike the defunct air board, which operated as a department of the Clark County government’s executive branch, the authority is a separate government unit. However, provisions in the ordinance passed by the council keep the purse strings in its control, which means that any attempt by the authority to exercise its power to appropriate funds, issue bonds and levy taxes must be approved by the council. 

Authority Attorney Greg Fifer said thanks were owed to County Councilperson Kelly Khuri, because without her vote for the airport authority ordinance, the likelihood of remonstrance action against the authority would have increased significantly. 

The five-member authority board will consist of the same five members that served the air board until the end. President Tom Galligan, Baker, Kye Hoehn, Dan Gregory and Matt Lowe will  serve through the end of 2014, and then new appointments will be made. The Clark County Commissioners will have three appointments, the county council will have one and the town of Sellersburg will have one. The current members would be eligible for reappointment, Fifer said. 

“We have been totally 100 percent behind this, establishing the airport authority, since the beginning,” Sellersburg Town Council President Paul Rhodes said. “We see it as only a positive thing for the whole area, and particulary Sellersburg, because part of the airport is in Sellersburg town boundaries. So we’re extremely excited to see this happening, and see nothing but benefits for the community.” 

Galligan expressed his thanks to state Sen. Ron Grooms, R-Jeffersonville, who sponsored the bill at the statehouse that authorized the establishment of the airport authority in the Statehouse. 

“I think there are some positive things coming,” Galligan said. 

Three members will constitute a quorum. In instances where only three members are present at a meeting, two votes will be needed to for a vote to be considered successful.