The Carroll County Airport Commission received news of more grant funding for the airport, and also signed new leases for hangar space. With adequate funding in place for airport operations, commissioners voted to establish an emergency fund.
At the June meeting, the commission had discussed the need for such a fund, as the airport’s balance grew due to Covid grants and recent ground leases. Airport Manager Michael Pfeifer had been asked to check on the legality of creating the fund, and said he spoke with state auditors and received approval for establishing a backup fund with a separate checking account. Commissioners voted to place 10 percent of the profits from fuel sales into the fund in 2022.
The airport received notice on July 1 of an entitlement grant of $123,000 and a Covid Relief grant for $14,000, under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The grants will pay for “sealing, crack repair and joint filling on 18,000 square yards of existing general aviation apron surfaces to extend the pavement’s useful life.”
The airport is also eligible for a grant of up to $32,000 through the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Rescue Plan Act 2021. These funds are designed to provide economic relief to airports in response to the pandemic. Airports can use these funds for operations, personnel, cleaning and sanitation, and other steps to deal with the spread of Covid.
Commissioners approved two new ground leases, one for a hangar 80 x 100 ft., and another for a hangar 50 ft. square.
A hangar tenant received approval for a sub-lease arrangement. Ron Dugger has several years remaining on a 10-year lease. He said he wants to sell the plane currently housed there but wants to allow the new owner to keep the plane where it is and pay him for the hangar space. Dugger said he plans to buy another plane at which time he will move back into the hangar.
Commissioner Sandy Martin noted that the county has had some objections in the past to subleases, but Justice of the Peace John Howerton, who represents the quorum court at commission meetings, said the county only needed a written agreement with a term.
Consulting engineer Dan Clinton suggested three likely locations for new hangars and explained what types might go in each location. He also explained how state and federal grant cycles will affect the airport’s priorities in building new hangars.
Clinton also suggested the airport could remove some of its lower-cost awning hangars and replace them with enclosed hangars bringing in more revenue. That solution would not create more hangar space, and the airport has a long waiting list for hangars. Commissioners said they would first have to build a large new gang hangar to give current tenants a place to move before replacing an awning hangar.
Clinton said he will prepare some preliminary plans for a hangar 100 ft. square. The commission discussed the size and location of doors, and the types of planes suitable for a gang hangar. Clinton will also conduct a limited survey in the proposed area.
In other business:
- Martin suggested a full review of the standard lease agreement.
- A Fly-in is scheduled for Aug. 21, but with Covid numbers climbing again, commissioners checked to make sure they still had hand cleaners and other sanitary supplies on hand.
- In his monthly report, Pfeifer said the June 19 Fly-in brought out 30 planes and 85 attendees.
- Pfeifer reported that certified letters have been sent to all airport tenants explaining that privately owned automobiles can no longer drive across the runway. New signs have been ordered to remind people to use the new gate to access the far side of the grounds.
- The Berryville Chamber of Commerce will hold a First Friday Coffee at the airport at 7:30 a.m. on Aug. 6.