Airport bustling

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

BERRYVILLE -- The county-owned airport west of Berryville continues to see plenty of activity, with nearly 100 aircraft visiting the facility in August.

According to Perry Evans, airport manager, several of the pilots landing at the airport were there on drug eradication missions but no drugs were found in the county.

There were 32 fuel transactions in August, several cookouts at the airport, and the courtesy cars were taken out more than a dozen times.

The detailing of those courtesy cars was the topic of discussion when the members of the Carroll County Airport Commissioners met for their regular monthly meeting last Thursday.

The previous month they were told Commission Chairman Dave Teigen was accused of an ethics violation because his 14-year-old son was paid $150 for detailing the three courtesy cars.

Reportedly, the young man was asked to provide the service by someone other than his father and an unnamed person at the county courthouse saw the check and reported the payment to auditors.

Commission member Lonnie Clark, an accountant himself, said the payment was not something auditors would flag. He said it irritated him that the county took action, saying the young man did the work for half the going rate, that the airport brought in more than $1.5 million and yet the commission was being questioned about a $150 payment for services provided.

In addition, it was noted that according to ethics guidelines, no one "directly or indirectly" connected to the airport commission is allowed to do work for the airport.

In a small rural county, it was noted, following that ruling would eliminate just about everyone or any business owner.

"I feel strongly that we need to keep the vehicles presentable," Clark said, proposing that the commission find a way for the young man to continue to provide the service.

The commissioners considered two options, asking the quorum court for permission to employ someone part time to detail the vehicles -- or paying the young man directly from their commission funds that they are authorized to use without quorum court review. Those funds represent revenue derived from hanger leases and fuel sales.

In the end they decided to pay him from commission funds, "not more than $1,200 a year."

Commissioners tabled a hanger lease extension request, saying there were too many questions to proceed at this time.

The original 35-year lease agreement was signed in 1995, meaning it doesn't expire until 2030. Yet the lease holder requested a 10-year extension and provided a check. That check was returned.

A private collection of 125 model airplanes, described as museum quality, has been offered to the airport.

The cost of display cases and security will be explored before a final decision is made.

Larkin Floyd's request to build a new 1,200-square-foot hanger similar to others at the airport was approved, provided it conforms to all state codes.

The commission is set to meet again at noon on Thursday, Oct. 13, at the airport terminal.

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