Home away from home? Chairman vows to remain on airport commission

Friday, September 19, 2014

After an uneventful meeting of the Carroll County Airport Commission, Chairman Lonnie Clark concluded the meeting by responding to an article in the Aug. 22 edition of Carroll County News.

That article cited research showing that Clark has not lived in Carroll County for many years. He still votes here, although he apparently resides in Fayetteville. In recent quorum court meetings, Clark has said he owns property and votes in Carroll County, but he said at the Aug. 21 CCAC meeting that he considers his residency a "personal" matter.

Although he did not give any more specific information about his residency at Thursday's CCAC meeting, Clark did not say he actually lives in Carroll County. Instead, he said, "I have considered Carroll County my home."

The website of the Arkansas Secretary of State spells out the question of voting eligibility: "If you own property in more than one county, you must register to vote wherever you actually 'live or reside.' Owning property or a business in a county does not constitute residency there."

Clark concluded his comments by saying, "I have no intention of stepping down."

Clark dismissed the Aug. 21 story as "tabloid journalism."

In an interview after the meeting, Clark agreed that someone must be a

"qualified elector," as spelled out in CCAC bylaws, but he dismissed the statement on the Secretary of State's website as "an opinion." Clark said he has always voted here and will continue to do so.

In other business:

* Consulting engineer Dan Clinton said the Federal Aviation Administration is cutting funding for some airports, and while those cuts will not affect the Carroll County Airport directly, the situation will lead to more competition for state grants.

* Commissioner Mark Mallett discussed plans to build an enclosure around a bathroom in a hangar. Although commissioners volunteered to take care of the carpentry and drywall, the airport will require licensed plumbers and electricians. Mallett also reported on a situation with rainwater standing near a hangar, and suggested adding a trench to drain the area. He also received commission approval to purchase expensive bulbs to replace a pair of lights that mark the end of the runway.

* Although the commission does not currently have a vacancy, Mayor Morris Pate of Eureka Springs attended the meeting, and said he is interested in serving on the commission when his mayoral term ends Dec. 31. Pate said he has served as mayor for four years, and he served 18 years on the quorum court.

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