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News Airport Authority actively seeking grants; approves budget proposal

The Macon County Airport Authority held its monthly meeting on Tuesday evening. Erik Rhysdon of W.K. Dickson, a consulting firm out of Charlotte, updated the board on grants that have been sought from the state in regards to the runway widening that is set to begin within the next month or so.

“We've compiled the numbers and got the paperwork for the grants turned in,” said Rhysdon. “With that, next Tuesday (April, 1), we're going to have a meeting here with the contractor to go over pre-construction plans and the construction schedule with him. After that, hopefully on Tuesday we can sit down and nail down a start date hopefully within the week or two weeks after.”

He also discussed plans to approach other companies that specialize in airport beacons because the company that formerly worked on and provided the beacons has halted production on them for the time being.

“Another item that I may look into and see if they can give me a quote is a system they have that can monitor whether a light is not functioning. We would know which light and when it stopped working. That way we can keep better tabs on the function of the lights. I'll get the estimates and share them with you. Like I said, we've already looked at the grant and it's being covered by the non-primary entitlement grant so if it falls within the budget that we have left in that grant, hopefully we can just go ahead and get it done,” said Rhysdon.

With the fiscal year winding down and a new one set to begin on July 1, it is also time for various county entities to develop a 2014-2015 fiscal year budget. The AA will approach the board to request a $56,000 budget from the county commissioners, an increase from $47,000 last year.

“For our current budget, we're off on some of the items, but I think after we move some money around we're going to be pretty close by the end of the year [June 30],” said board member Pete Haithcock. “Next year, we know that we need to do some maintenance on some of the buildings out here and some on the landscape so we've added about $9,000 to the budget. Our propane budget this year nearly doubled for two different reasons. Not just because it's been cold but because of a leak and also because some pipes burst and we had to leave the building open with the heat on for about three days. Anyway, this budget is pretty lean. The additional $9,000 really just goes to maintenance and landscaping.”

Member Harold Corbin made a motion to allow Chairman Milles Gregory to go before the commissioners to request the $56,000 budget. Gary Schmidt seconded with the unanimous agreement from board members.

The next meeting will take place on April 29 at 4 p.m. at the airport board room.

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