Airport commission votes to reinstate tenant's lease terms

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Carroll County Airport Commission voted to reinstate Larkin Floyd's lease to its 2005 terms on Friday, May 20.

Floyd explained that he's had a lease with the airport since 1985, saying the lease was renewed in 2005 for $448.34 a year. In 2014, Floyd said he forgot to make a payment on the lease. Then, he said, the commission voted to increase the amount he needed to pay.

"Now I'm paying just right at $400 a month, so it's 10 times that on top of the $550,000 I've already put into this place," Floyd said.

He recalled the meeting where his lease was increased, saying former airport manager Sheila Evans had personal problems with him.

"It was a personal vendetta on Sheila's part," Floyd said. "She brought in several commissioners to rally around her flagpole and left me high and dry."

Former commissioner Dave Teigen spoke on Floyd's behalf, agreeing that the commission's decision to increase the lease payments was wrong. Though it was legal for the commission to do so, Teigen said it was not morally right.

"The commission made a decision I was wholeheartedly against," Teigen said. "It wasn't morally and it wasn't ethically correct."

Anthony Pike, who spoke during public comments, described everything Floyd has done for the airport over the years. When Floyd started working there in 1985, Pike said, the airport desperately needed more traffic to attract more funding.

"Airports go out of their way to try to attract people like Mr. Floyd because they're going to bring traffic to the airport," Pike said.

He agreed that Floyd would have to pay much more if he were a new mechanic interested in leasing but said Floyd is an important investor at the airport.

"We have to look at this from a historical perspective," Pike said. "He was an investor. You can't tell an investor, 'Invest some money' and if the stock goes way up say, 'Hey, you've got a good deal and we want some of the money back.' "

Pike continued, "He's someone who took a risk for this airport, and he's entitled to the benefit of that risk. He's an original investor who came in here and stood to lose."

Commissioner Dane Mulligan said changing Floyd's lease agreement was one of many poor decisions Evans made.

"She did a lot of improper things, and it looks like this was one of them ... so we need to fix it," Mulligan said.

Commissioner Sandy Martin agreed.

"I think it's fair we reinstate it to 2005," Martin said.

The rest of the commission agreed, voting to reinstate Floyd's lease to what it was in 2005.

Also at the meeting, the commission agreed to add the purchase of new furniture to its 2017 budget. Martin explained that she would prefer to add it to next year's budget to be sure this year's budget is where it needs to be.

"The available soft budget we had in our budget for this year was utilized for the utility vehicle, and I'm concerned about budget money to do this," Martin said.

Chairman Chase Tresler noted that the utility vehicle has been performing well, and Martin said the purchase was under $4,000.

"It's working really good," Tresler said. "It's in really good shape."

Tresler presented information on several hangar proposals but said nothing is set in stone yet.

"No one's submitted anything for sure, so it's just proposals," Tresler said.

The commission's next regular meeting is scheduled for noon Friday, June 17.

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