Time to end the debacle

Aug. 04, 2013 @ 04:50 AM

This situation has gone on long enough.

We, of course, refer to the situation surrounding the Rutherford County Airport Authority.

For the entire month of July, we have been consumed with stories about paying for property at a price well over appraised value, rumors being started, missing minutes and most things in between.

And it is time for it to stop.

At Monday night’s meeting of the Rutherford County Commission, the board will discuss House Bill 290 which gives the Commission the power to essentially fire the current members of the Authority and take it over themselves.

And, we believe the time is right for that to happen.

The Authority has been rife with politics and questionable dealings and it is time for that to come to an end.

What started at the beginning of July as the Authority agreeing to pay County Commission Chairman Julius Owens $300,000 for his 10-acre tract of land to remove a tree in federal aviation violation of the glide-slope ratio for approaching aircraft has turned into nothing more than an elementary school playground.

A member of the Authority has started a rumor about airport management to, in his words, see how far rumors travel.

Minutes from an entire decade were missing from where they were supposed to be kept, which is a close violation of state law.

And let’s not forget about a 2010 tentative agreement between the Authority and Owens to remove the tree in question — which still stands today — that would have been exponentially cheaper ($12,000) than the $300,000 paid.

The problem with that is the tentative agreement was never revisited or, for all intents and purposes, even discussed prior to the deal to purchase the land was initiated and finalized.

There may nor may not have been any illegal dealings regarding the Authority and we will be the first to recognize that but the issue of public trust has been called into question.

In a poll conducted on this newspaper’s website, nearly 70 percent of respondents agreed the county should take over the Authority.

And we agree.

We encourage the County Commission to look and the entire scope of the issues and do what is best for the county.

Disregard politics and do what is right for Rutherford County.

By Matthew Clark, for the Editorial Board


The Daily Courier Editorial Board consists of community members Jerry Brewer, Kyle Bingham, Tom Padgett, Dr. Shermaine Surratt and Cliff Strassenburg as well as Editor Matthew Clark.