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May 15, 2013

Airport authority ordinance introduced

Clark councilman withdraws proposal for wheel tax

JEFFERSONVILLE —

On the same day that Gov. Mike Pence signed into law a bill that would authorize the Clark County Council to establish a new regional airport authority, the council allowed an ordinance to do exactly that to be introduced at its meeting Monday.

The ordinance, 15-2013, would establish the South Central Regional Airport Authority, which would replace the Clark County Board of Aviation Commissioners. The authority would be able to accept donations from the River Ridge Development Authority. 

“I think creating this authority gives an avenue for those businesses which directly benefit from the airport, such as River Ridge,” said Council Vice President Brian Lenfert. “It gives them another avenue for their dollars which are invested out at River Ridge to be used at the airport. So I think it’s exactly what adversaries have been saying for the last few years, which is let the businesses pay for the airport if they use it.” 

Councilwoman Kelly Khuri attempted to strike the ordinance from the meeting agenda before it was introduced, but her motion to do so failed by a 6-1 vote. Khuri said she wanted time to review the ordinance before it was discussed. Khuri said she preferred to have County Council Attorney Scott Lewis be responsible for the language instead of air board attorney Greg Fifer. 

“Just some of the language I think can be honed in to where the taxpayers are protected a little bit more,” Khuri said. “Even though we would have the ability to — the budget would come before us [as well as] the tax levies, but I would also like to see any additional appropriations ... come before the council.” 

If established, the airport authority would be required to go before the council for approval of its annual budget and any additional appropriations, per the ordinance. Any donations from outside bodies would also need to be approved by the council before they could be spent. 

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