News and Tribune

Clark County

April 27, 2007

Changes coming to Clark County Airport

The president of the Clark County Board of Aviation Commissioners says the panel will begin considering options for changes at the financially strapped Clark Regional Airport after a group of experts make a presentation there next month.

But some county officials say the answers to some of the airport’s problems are clear, and see it as a bad sign the board didn’t respond to recommendations from Clark County Commissioner Mike Moore during a special meeting Thursday.

Bill Halter, the air board’s president, said representatives of the Aviation Association of Indiana will make a public presentation at the airport May 9 — to provide comparisons of revenues and expenses of Indiana airports that are similar to Clark Regional. After the presentation, which is expected to last approximately one hour, the board can begin looking at how it can make changes to stop a four-year string of financial losses.

“We have a viable airport, a very good airport,” Halter said. “We are working on ways to improve it.”

The airport has lost money every year since 2003, the first year it did not have a dedicated property tax to help support it financially. Last year the facility’s deficit was about $50,000.

But David Abbott, president of the Clark County Council, said the group’s failure to take seriously Moore’s suggestions lead him to believe there is an unwillingness to change on the part of air board members, all of whom are appointed by the Clark County Commissioners.

“I’m disappointed,” said Abbott, following Thursday’s meeting.

Commissioners Ed Meyer and Ralph Guthrie praised the air board members’ work.

“I think our position is that we appoint you people to serve,” Meyer said. “Once we do that, I expect you to carry out your duties to the best of your ability. I think you’ve done that.”

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