Airport Committee Minutes of Meeting
14 July 2021
Attendees: Erin Curry Chairperson, Mayor Pat Ford, Ricky Keith, Stoney Jackson, Pat Miles (Absent County Executive Melissa Greene, Rose Brown, and Jerry Bryant) Other: Bill Cary, Larry Worsham, David Adams, Rodney Journey, Joyce Woodard, Judy Pruett, Duane Jones, Gayle Jones, Joseph Sutton, Terry Harrison
Chairperson Erin Curry opened the meeting with Ricky Keith providing the prayer and leading the pledge. Minutes from previous meeting were summarized by Erin, and moved for approval by Stoney Jackson and seconded by Pat Miles. Minutes approved. Mayor Ford asked that all minutes and notifications be distributed to city of Pulaski representatives.
First Agenda Item – Agreement between City of Pulaski and County for operation of Abernathy Field. Commissioner Wamble had asked about such an agreement and a handout prepared by the city was provided. While the handout was not in the format of an agreement, it was a summary of how the city and county work together on the operation of the Field. Ricky Keith asked Terry Harrison, City Administrator, if there were any problems and Terry answered no but clarity was, in his opinion, the need to have this discussion. Stoney mentioned he didn’t know there was a contract with the airport manager, Randy Jones. Per Terry, the contract has been in place for many years and Mayor Ford clarified some of the requirements under that contract. In particular, Randy Jones is paid a salary, cost being split evenly between city and county, and he also supplements that salary, under terms of the contract, to sell fuel and hangar rentals. As explained this benefits city/county by paying a lower salary and allows considerable flexibility in hours. On being asked about additional staff, there are no full time staff, only a part-time on an as needed basis. That person is paid by Randy Jones, due to that time being required due to Randy’s absence. Stoney asked about insurance and Terry responded with there are two policies, one for the building and equipment and one for the operation of the airfield. On further questions about cost of operation, Terry will print out current cost and noted this is not an audited number but is typically consistent. And again that overall cost is split evenly between city/county. That printout will be provided to all members. There being no further questions/comments Chairperson Curry moved on to the next agenda item.
Second Agenda Item – Clearance of the airport runway. Chairperson Curry mentioned that an update on the bid for clearance had been provided by County Executive Melissa Greene to all commissioners. Mayor Ford mentioned discussions with property owners and an agreement had been reached to allow possession of the property with the price being comparable to current similar properties. The city then took possession and bid out the clearance. With only one bidder, Journey Logging, the accepted bid will be $132,500 coming to the city for logging, cleanup, and hauling off. Dollars from another grant for a logging road, added to the $132,500 bill be used for the matching grant requirements, a cattle fence around parts of the runway (parts due to separation from two other property owners). Terry as soon as the trees are cleared, FAA should approve the airport’s night approach. Stoney mentioned hay cutting which is under a five year contract (two years left under contract). The contractor has requested an extension to that contract but will wait until clearance is complete.
New or Other Business – Stoney asked if there are any plans to extend the runway. Terry answered that a safety threshold will be considered in connection with the nearby rock crusher. Deer population somewhat under control due to some fencing problems after considerable water movement. Budgeting for operation mentioned with City doing $50K and County doing $55K although cost will be split evenly. If grants are awarded, those dollars will also be split evenly and half returned to county.
Stoney Jackson moved to adjourn and Major Ford seconded. Motion approved.