Airport security gate still on hold after a year

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

By Mike Ellis

Carroll County News

CARROLL COUNTY -- The Carroll County Airport Commission is still waiting for guidance before proceeding with work on a security gate.

At the May 7 meeting, the commissioners had wanted to hire another contractor to finish work on a security gate adjacent to the airport office. The project was supposed to have been finished more than a year ago, and has cost more than the original bid.

The commissioners had discussed hiring Stateline Fencing to finish a job begun by Bar-H Fence. They wanted to get the job done, and the gate working, as soon as possible, then worry later about recovering money from the original contractor.

Former commissioner Ed Regner warned the commission in May that unless they first sent a formal notice to Bar-H, they would not have any recourse later in recovering money from that company.

The commissioners then conditionally approved hiring Stateline, after a 10-day waiting period following formal notice to Bar-H.

Since then, commissioner Jim Simmons contacted Prosecuting Attorney Tony Rogers, who provides legal counsel to the county. By Thursday night, Simmons had not heard a reply from Rogers.

Although Link again suggested going ahead with the completion of the project, and worrying later about recovering money from Bar-H, the commission decided to await Rogers' advice.

Lease revocation

There were no new details to report in a lawsuit to revoke the lease of Michael Coghlan.

Coghlan attended a meeting of the commission in April, and said he planned to have his property appraised in hopes of finding a settlement with the commission.

With no progress on a settlement, Chairman Scott Link noted that the previous county judge, Richard Williams, had been prepared to exercise eminent domain to take Coghlan's two-acre tract, which is under a long lease. Link said the current judge, Sam Barr, does not appear willing to use eminent domain in this matter.

Justice of the Peace Frank Renner, speaking from the audience, said the county was the primary plaintiff in the lawsuit, but with the change in administration, "The county presently has no interest in pursuing it." 

Accident reports

The commissioners continued to discuss a topic which arose at the May meeting. At that time, Link complained that airport manager Perry Evans should have filed a report after a minor accident at the airport.

Evans adamantly opposed that notion, saying the Federal Aviation Administration only requires the pilot to file a report.

Since then, Link checked and verified Evans' statements. Although the airport has no responsibility to report a minor accident, however, Link suggested notifying 911, "because they have a protocol about who to notify." 

The commissioners discussed several aspects of this issue, including letting the county judge know that an incident had taken place on county property.

Evans continued to argue against calling 911, referring to a past incident involving an accident with an ultralight aircraft. Evans said the sheriff's office responded with 10 deputies.

Evans said he had checked with other airport managers, and "they don't notify anybody." 

A committee was formed to continue studying policies for handling minor accidents.

Miscellaneous

* A sign will be installed to advise visiting pilots about the procedures for parking their planes.

* Commissioner Dr. Tony Pike submitted his resignation. The commission is seeking applications from anyone interested in filling the unexpired portion of Pike's term. They would especially like to find a business person from the east side of the river to provide balance on the commission.

* Dave Teigen was elected as the commission's new chairman, and Lonnie Clark will serve as vice chairman.

* During the public comments section, former commissioner Al Iller suggested that any future work at the airport should be done by contract, with timetables and penalties stated explicitly.

* The commissioners recognized Sheila Evans for her volunteer work at the airport, saying she spends a lot of time there, assisting visiting pilots while her husband, airport manager Perry Evans, takes care of mowing or other duties.

* Following some discussions with Carroll Electric, markers will be installed on some electric lines near the airport.

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