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Mystery solved

The mystery of the missing tractor at the McCreary County Airport has been solved after the piece of equipment was found…at the airport.

Last week the Voice reported the McCreary County Sheriffs Office and County Judge Executive Doug Stephens had received notification that a Kubota tractor, used to mow the grass around the runway, was not in the main hangar, where it typically was stored.

The missing equipment was reported by a former member of the Airport Board, who stated he had gone to the facility with the intent of working on his private plane, while another former member had planned to mow the grass.

After the story was published last week, a former member of the Airport Board, Robert Spradlin, contacted Sheriff Randy Waters after learning about the reported missing tractor, and advised him the tractor had not left the airport property, but was parked in his private hangar.

Sheriff Waters met Spradlin at the airport, and was shown the tractor, safely secured in the private facility.

Spradlin reported he had been mowing the lawn at the airstrip, and had parked the vehicle in his hangar when it had started to rain.

Judge Executive Doug Stephens said this week he is still in the process of gathering an inventory list of equipment owned by the Airport Board, which is now County property after the dissolution of the Board last month.

The Fiscal Court took the steps to disband the Airport Board after a series of events leading to the Board adopting a property tax to raise funding.

The Board had first approached the Fiscal Court to ask for their assistance in funding the local match needed to complete a project to seal and repair cracks in the runway, as well as resurfacing the entire strip.

The total cost of the project was just over $660,000, with state and federal agencies providing the majority of the funding. The local match needed was just under $17,000.

The Board, which had operated for more than 40 years without levying a tax, had to use the funds previously set aside for the project on a fuel system at the airport.

Facing a shortfall and a looming deadline for the project, the Board petitioned the Fiscal Court for the funding, but was informed that the money was not available.

Fearing the lack of funds could prompt a shutdown of the facility; the Board took steps to levy a tax to make up for the shortfall.

Not long after voting to impose the tax, McCreary County PVA Bruce Lominac filed an injunction in Circuit Court to block the implementation of the tax.

The airport and the reported missing equipment and fuel is expected to be a topic on the agenda during tonight’s Fiscal Court meeting.

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