Commission to get report on airport

Aug. 04, 2013 @ 04:49 AM

After a month of investigation, Rutherford County Commissioners will get a report on the financials, transactions and dealings of the Rutherford County Airport Authority.

The report will be issued at the August Commission meeting at 6 p.m. Monday.

But, prior to the report being reviewed, commissioners will consider a resolution requesting the General Assembly approve legislation abolishing the Airport Authority and putting commissioners in its place.

The General Assembly passed House Bill 290 during the most recent session which provides the County Commission the ability to serve as the Airport Authority without additional compensation. That bill was initially requested by commissioners in February.

At the time, the intent was to have a measure in place in the event management of Marchman Field was deemed unsatisfactory by commissioners — who appoint Authority members.

However, in June the bill took center stage after news of the Authority agreeing to pay Commission Chairman Julius Owens $300,000 for his 10-acre tract of land located near the airport in order to remove a tree which held the airport in violation of a federally-mandated glide-slope ratio for approaching aircraft.

The issue increased in veracity after it was learned two independent appraisers valued Owens’ land and buildings at $168,000.

See airport/ page a8

After grilling Airport Authority Chairman Bob Howard during its July meeting, commissioners asked County Manager Carl Classen to compile a full report regarding financials and all activities surrounding the Airport Authority.

Since that time, it was discovered that Owens and the Authority had a tentative agreement for $12,000 to remove the tree in question that was signed in 2010 but never executed.

Most recently, over the course of the investigation, it was discovered that a decade’s worth of meeting minutes (1980-90) were missing.

On Wednesday, Howard said he turned over cassette tapes found in the basement of the airport terminal building that may or may not contain recorded meetings of the Authority during that time.

Monday, commissioners can elect to take over the Airport Authority or do nothing and let the current Authority stand.

Other business commissioners will consider include:

• appointments to the Economic Development Commission;

• enhanced recycling request for proposal ranking;

• a policy for declaring surplus property and surplus items for consideration, and;

• budget amendments.