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Airport Board Abolished

Tax to be rescinded: Runway repaving will be completed

With a 5-0 vote the dispute between the McCreary County Fiscal Court and Airport Board may finally be coming to a close with the County assuming control of the airport.

In Thursday’s Fiscal Court meeting Magistrate Roger Phillips motioned to abolish the Board, with a second by Magistrate Leroy “O.L” Perry.

“I think it is in the best interest of the county to abolish the board,” Phillips said.

Phillips said he recognized the property is a potential economic benefit for the county, and suggested placing control over the facility under the McCreary County Economic Development Board.

County Attorney Conley Chaney offered his opinion that the vote that evening should suffice to abolish the board, since it was firmed with a resolution, not an ordinance, but suggested the Fiscal Court follow up by passing an official ordinance to make sure every contingency was covered.

There was no further discussion at that point, and the measure passed with a 5-0 vote.

During the citizens’ participation portion of the meeting, Pete Redden, a member of the Airport Board voiced his concerns over the future of the airport without the Board’s leadership.

“Please don’t let that airport go,” he pleaded. “It would be a crying shame to lose it over $16,000.”

Phillips directed a comment toward Redden, referencing a visit by county officials to the airport last week where personal property of non-board members being stored in the hangers was reportedly discovered.

“The tax won’t go through,” Phillips said. “It’s not in the (County’s) best interest for the airport to dissolve. But, it’s not in the best interest of this county to let this board (continue) because I don’t believe they have the best interest of the county in mind. They have their own interest.”

Magistrate Jason Mann echoed Phillips’ comments.

“We don’t intend to close it, we just need to go in a different direction,” he said.

He noted some have called the airport a “boy’s club” and said he couldn’t support that.

Phillips was also apparently upset at the Board’s actions after Redden and Robert Spradlin were reappointed to the Board with an apparent understanding that the Board rescind the tax, which did not happen.

“I tried to work with you, and you threw me under the bus,” he said.

Redden made reference to a letter from Steve Marcozzi, a manager in the Airport Inspections Branch of the Kentucky Department of Aviation that cautioned the Board that allowing the airport to close “could potentially put the county in position to require repayment of FAA grants for past airport projects.”

Phillips cut him short, saying – “scare tactics won’t get you anywhere.”

Monday morning Judge Stephens said the next step for the Fiscal Court would be to rescind the tax implemented by the Board, and expected to do so at the next Fiscal Court meeting.

He also said he has been in contact with the FAA regarding the repaving grant, and was told there was no deadline for completing the project, contrary to what the Airport Board had contended.

However, he added, he had also been in contact with Hinkle Contracting about the project, and plans are to move forward with the needed work – possibly as early as next week. He stated the County is looking at using funds from the Secure Rural Schools program, which typically is used on road projects, but can be also used on community projects.

Judge Stephens is also planning to meet with Chaney to discuss what steps need to be taken now that the airport is under County control.


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