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Lighting project at airpark in jeopardy

Mar. 14, 2013 @ 11:17 PM

IRONTON -- Failing to follow through on a $257,560 lighting project at the Lawrence County Airpark could endanger about $150,000 annually from the Federal Aviation Administration.

The Lawrence County Board of Commissioners earlier agreed to support the project with a 10 percent stake, with the rest coming from the FAA. However, the board didn't put the money in this year's budget due to financial constraints.

"We still have a $500,000 shortfall in court orders we have to deal with," said Commissioner Bill Pratt. "We hope we can do with that, but there's no money for anything extra."

The existing lighting at the airport on County Road 1 west of Chesapeake doesn't meet FAA standards, said Bill Nenni, chairman of the airport advisory committee.

"This has been an ongoing project," Commissioner Les Boggs said. "The commissioners approved the project. If it's going to jeopardize $150,000 per year we need to talk about this."

"We chose not to proceed with the airport project," Pratt said. "The money's not there. We feel the people who use the airport should finance it."

The board did pay the local share of a $24,225 project for design work on the project, Nenni said.

Commissioners agreed to talk about the lighting project at its work session at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.

In other action, the board heard a report from County Treasurer Steve Burcham that first-half tax collections were $15.2 million, down from $16.3 million last year. First-half taxes were due March 8, while second-half taxes are due July 19. Second-half tax bills will be mailed out in May, he said.

"We still have some mail to go through," Burcham said. "I still hope to meet last year's collection."

The board also adopted a resolution proclaiming March 17-23 as National Agriculture Week.

"Farming is the profession most trusted in the United States," Pratt said. "We all eat and love to eat and can't do without farmers."

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