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Lawrence commission could take airpark over

Jul. 26, 2013 @ 12:21 AM

IRONTON -- By a 2-1 vote, the Lawrence County Board of Commissioners approved an agreement that some say will make the Lawrence County Airpark on County Road 1 self-sufficient.

Commission President Bill Pratt cast the lone vote Thursday against the proposal that would become effective in 2014. Commissioners Les Boggs and Freddie Hayes Jr. voted to support the agreement.

Bill Nenni, chairman of the airport advisory board, said the agreement is a move to make the airport self-sufficient. The purpose of the agreement is to develop a plan to run, maintain and develop the airport west of Chesapeake at no cost to county taxpayers. The commissioners will be the administrator of the airport and its real estate.

Pratt, however, said the agreement will interfere with the county's eminent domain litigation against North Kenova Development, which owns land on both ends of the airport. The company has allowed trees on both ends of the airport to grow, making it more difficult to land along the 3,000-foot airstrip.

In other action, County Auditor Jason Stephens warned board members that at current spending levels, the 911 dispatching system would be $45,649.85 short of money for personnel costs by the end of the year. The county does have about $40,000 in the half-percent sales tax that could be appropriated for the 911 system, which dispatches sheriff's deputies, Ironton police, ambulances and fire calls.

"It's a tight spot," Stephens said.

The board also:

Heard a report from County Treasurer Steve Burcham that the county has collected more than $9.7 million in second-half taxes. The collection currently is about $60,000 less than the same period last year. However, some uncounted bank collections are expected to push collections above that of last year. Burcham said.

Appointed Paul Woods and C. Michael Gleichauf to terms on the Lawrence County Port Authority effective through the end of 2015. Tim Rise and Mike McKee were appointed to terms on the port authority through the end of 2017.

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