Initial review yields little answers

Jan. 22, 2014 @ 08:05 AM

A preliminary organizational review of the Rutherford County Airport has not provided any answers to a decades-worth of Airport Authority meeting minutes.

Rutherford County Manager Carl Classen said there is a number of boxes found that contain documents regarding the airport that he said need to be organized and catalogued.

"We looked at it and wondered how can we put this together," Classen said. "We have identified 11 boxes of documents and they appear to be engineering plans, reports and things that have to do with the improvements at the airport."

But, the issue still remains surrounding 10 years worth of missing meeting minutes that have yet to surface.

Prior to taking over as the Airport Authority, members of the Rutherford County Commission asked to see documents, however meeting minutes from 1980-90 were never discovered.

At this point, according to Classen, the meeting minutes have never been recovered.

"We've heard lots of stories as far as where those minutes are but we still don't know," Classen said.

During the search cassette tapes were discovered that were thought to be recordings of those minutes, however Classen said the tapes were mostly inaudible or contained no meeting information.

"We've received conflicting information as to whether those minutes are taped or typed," Classen said. "The minutes don't exist that we can find."

Classen did recommend — and the Authority approved — scanning the older documents uncovered. He estimated the cost to scan those documents at $4,400.

"Why do half a job?" said Authority member Bo Richard. "Scan them all. I hate to spend money but it's history and it could prove to be very valuable later on."

Richard did say he found some handwritten minutes from the 80s located in the files with minutes from the 1970s but a significant amount of those minutes are still missing.

Richard did ask for the Rutherford County Sheriff's Department to conduct an investigation into the missing minutes but that motion died for lack of a second.

While other members did not support a move to ask the Sheriff's Department to investigate, there was a consensus to resolve the issue that has been standing since August 2013.

"We need to put this to rest," said Authority Chairman Greg Lovelace. "Do they exist or don't they and that is what we need to know."

Classen said a digital file of documents would be available in March and the Authority asked for an update on the missing minutes for the February meeting.

"I would like a report on where we're at, especially with the missing minutes," Lovelace said. "That should include what is lacking with scanning the documents we have."

In other business, the Authority:

• heard the financial report for the last month. Classen said fuel sales are above budget by $57,000 but that figure will flatten out over the winter months;

• heard an update on tree clearing and building removal from Rutherford County building inspector Jason Ruff and consulting engineer James Luther from W.K. Dickson;

• opened discussion on the creation of an Airport Advisory Council and agreed to bring the matter back up in March;

• approved allowing a camporee with the Boy Scouts of America at the airport in March;

• approved drafting a 30-year lease with the North Carolina Forest Service;

• discussed hangar inspections but made no decision;

• approved correcting an easement for property on Bee Hive Drive.