Virtual meeting flies at airport

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The Carroll County Airport Commission had a meeting scheduled for last Friday, and commissioners adopted a creative solution to conducting business without coming together physically. They established an e-mail thread, copied to the media, to vote on the most pressing items.

In an Independent interview following the virtual meeting, commissioner Sandy Martin explained that the small meeting room at the airport would have placed commissioners in close proximity. Some agenda items could be postponed, but commissioners had to vote on some budget items for submission to the quorum court.

The e-mail thread actually began Thursday, and continued into Friday, with commissioners sending “reply all” e-mails to enter a motion or vote. Martin said the format allowed the commission to conduct the necessary business, although it involved a clumsy process.

Commissioners will likely have to conduct another virtual meeting, and will use an app like Zoom, which allows people to join a conversation from remote computers or telephones. The CCAC will post the link in advance of a meeting to allow public participation and comments.

The quorum court had asked CCAC to rewrite its budget to have salaries paid out of the airport’s general fund. Salaries and withholding for the airport manager and other occasional staff had included funds received directly from the county, but those are not county employees.

Courtesy cars are back and won’t be driving across the runway

The county had grounded the airport’s courtesy cars in January after questions arose about insurance liabilities. After a review of policies and procedures at other municipal airports, CCAC adopted new procedures, approved by the quorum court, and the courtesy cars are now available again for use by visiting pilots. The CCAC also voted to establish a logbook for pilots landing at the airport, to help with potential tracing of a COVID-19 contact. The log will include contact information.

CCAC had solicited bids to install an electric gate on the southeast side of the airport to reduce automobile traffic across the runway. A grant will pay as much as 90 percent of the estimated $20,000 cost. The airport expects to expand in that area, with ground leases pending for two people wishing to build large hangars. Commissioners approved spending $3,000 to have an electric meter set at that location.

Airport Manager Michael Pfeifer has previously taken care of mowing at the airport, in addition to administrative duties. He has asked the commission to separate those positions, reducing his salary to pay for someone else to cut the grass. Pfeifer has interviewed three candidates for the mowing position.

 

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