By BRADEN LAMMERS
The three newly appointed Clark County Board of Aviation Commissioners hosted the group’s final meeting of the year last week.
Air Board Members Jim Baker, Tom Galligan and Kye Hoehn, all three of which are Clark County Commissioners appointments — the remaining members E. Wayne Carter and Dan Gregory were not in attendance — received an update on the airports financial standing. Clark Regional Airport Manager Melodee McNames said for the year, the airport ended with a positive balance in its operating budget.
She said the airport had collected $206,500 in revenues and had $151,900 in disbursements. In addition, at the start of 2012, the airport had a positive balance of about $160,000, resulting in more than $211,000 positive balance heading into next year.
The sale of one property was finalized and two donated properties should be handed over soon.
McNames said the airport closed on the purchase of .428 acres of property owned by ATP Sellersburg, which was leased by a petrochemical company, for a purchase price of $35,000.
“We’ve been trying to get this settled since March 2012,” she said.
Two other properties being donated to the airport, 2.93 acres from Sellersburg Stone and 1.6 acres of property owned by Kerry Stemler, were approved by the board, which agreed to have appraisals completed on the land being handed over to the airport.
“If the FAA allows us to accept that as a donation of property, we can have a value set on the property, and then use that as a ... local match,” McNames said.
A beacon light on an airport tower has stopped locating and the air board took the first step to replace the beacon.
“We’ve had trouble with that beacon, it’s 30 years old,” said William “Hap” Happel, former airport manager. He explained the airport was hoping to get a $10,000 grant to replace the light and has been consistently repairing the beacon to keep it operational.
Galligan asked if the board purchased the light now, which is part of the capital improvement plan, would the airport get reimbursed?
McNames said they would, and with the assurance Galligan made a motion to seek three price quotes to replace the light.
“I think we start doing those kinds of things and we’ll change the impression of this airport,” he said.
At the end of the meeting, Galligan thanked the former air board members for their service and said they laid the foundation for the current board.
“When they asked me to serve, I agreed to do it because I think this is one of the most important economic development tools we have,” he added. “I think it is something that is the future of this county. My goal here is to change the attitude in this community from being, ‘oh that’s just for rich people,’ to this is an opportunity to create jobs to move this county forward and improve the wage we get in this county.”
Greg Fifer, who was acting as the board’s attorney Thursday night, provided an update to the ongoing legal dispute over the Dreyer estate.
He said the Clark County Commissioners had a fund set up a nonreverting fund to pay the settlement owed to the Dreyer family, borrowing $925,000; $910,000 of which was already deposited in a court escrow fund.
“That keeps us from having to worry about the property going away or being forfeited,” Fifer said.
Originally, a payment of $203,000 was made to the late Margaret Dreyer for her property at the end of the Clark Regional Airport in order to complete a proposed runway expansion. A subsequent legal challenge to the value of the property, and jury trial, set the value of Dreyer’s land at $865,000.
The county, which has appealed the decision claiming the Dreyer objection to the appraisal amount was not filed in a timely manner, owes the remaining $660,000, plus accruing interest to the estate.
Fifer said the amount owed, with penalties added, now totals about $870,000.
In addition to the nonreverting fund set up, he said the airport has been awarded a $166,000 grant which will go into that account once the funding has been received.
Following his update on the air board’s legal matters, Fifer was unanimously hired as the board’s new attorney.