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Aircraft maintenance shed request grounded
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Determination is not paying off for Warren County Memorial Airport officials.  

The county Budget and Finance Committee has again rejected a request for financial assistance in constructing a maintenance shed when members met to review the airport’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2019-20. 

“We’re losing about $6,000 a year right now because we can’t use all our hangars,” said airport manager Richard Crawford. “The county is losing $6,000 a year because we’re having to use three hangars for maintenance equipment. We’ve lost $20,000 to $24,000 in the last four years using T-hangars for maintenance equipment verses aircraft.”

The airport has approximately $81,000 to put toward construction of an estimated 40 foot by 60 foot maintenance shed that is currently estimated at $206,000. Requested in the upcoming year’s budget was $125,000 for the shed. 

Airport Commissioner Dr. Mike Roberts referred to the $125,000 as a loan and says the only thing that has changed in four years is the cost of construction.

“No matter how long it takes to recoup those monies, we still need that facility,” said Roberts. “We could have had it and paid $24,000 of it. Now, we’re just that much further behind the eight ball. I don’t see it getting any better. It is a loan. We are capable of paying it back.”

County Commissioner Christy Ross spoke in opposition of the maintenance shed. 

“I guess I’ll be the one to say it,” said Ross. “I understand the need for the maintenance shed and that it would be a slow revenue generator, but I personally cannot pull the trigger on $125,000 with as many things in this county that we need. I want you to have it and hopefully somewhere down the line, I can green light that. For me, right now, I can’t do that.” 

Also new to the budget is a request for $20,000 to construct a new entrance sign at the airport and $10,800 for fuel tanks. 

A failed motion to approve the budget without change was defeated 3-2. Against it were Commissioners Richard Grissom, Daniel Owens and Ross, while Commissioners Carlene Brown and Tommy Savage approved it. 

“I feel comfortable with the sign,” said Grissom. “I just can’t go along with the shed.”

Committee members then approved the budget, minus the maintenance shed cost of $125,000, with a vote of 4-1. Savage stood in opposition of removing the shed.