Warren County Memorial Airport hit more turbulence in its effort to construct a new maintenance building to house equipment.
Members of the county Budget and Finance Committee met and unanimously decided to withdraw the item for consideration, rejecting it until airport officials can find a way to fund construction without transferring funds from other line items.
Proposed by airport manager Richard Crawford was for the county to allow the transfer of $50,000 from its current gasoline fund and to use $40,000 the county provided for a different project and combine those moneys with $83,000 the airport currently has to generate $173,000 to construct the building.
The airport, said Crawford, needs the 50-foot by 100-foot maintenance building to house equipment that is being stored in an airplane hangar because the hangar can be rented and generate revenue.
“They have $83,000 in a designated fund they have to spend on the airport,” said Budget and Finance Committee chair Terry Bell. “They want to spend the $40,000 match that we gave them for some other projects that haven’t come up yet. (Finance Director) Linda Hillis thinks the projects might come up before the end of the fiscal year. Basically, he’s spending every penny he’s got.”
County Executive Herschel Wells stressed caution, reminding the committee the airport will want the county to replenish its fuel fund for the 2016-17 fiscal year budget and if a different project does come to fruition, the airport will be asking for an additional $40,000 to replace that money as well.
Commissioner Diane Starkey asked, “Has anyone been out there? How bad does he need a maintenance shed? Is he in dire need of it?”
“I think he’s got all his hangars rented,” said Wells. “If he can build a maintenance shed and relocate the items into it, he can rent this one out.”
This is the second time Crawford has attempted to fund a new maintenance building. In the airport’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2015-16, he requested $50,000 to construct one. The item was removed by Budget and Finance Committee members during budget consideration.
Committee members voiced concern for the financial state of the county and its ability to replace the $90,000.
“The county has a lot of things facing it right now,” said Bell. “If we allow him to pull the $40,000 that we gave him for another project and then let him pull the $50,000 out of his fuel, you are talking about pulling $90,000 out. We have financial things just piling up.”
Among the financial items currently facing the county are $80,000 to house four juveniles who admitted to their role in the murder of a local man, relinquishing $560,000 to the city for an agreement on local option sales tax, a need to expand Warren County Jail, $250,000 to man a new ambulance station, and losing $300,000 in property tax due to nonprofit Saint Thomas purchasing River Park.
On the committee and in attendance at the meeting with Bell and Starkey, were commissioners Carl E. Bouldin and Ken Martin. Commissioner Michael Martin was absent.