Airport Improvement Grant Receives 2-1 Votes

By Meladi Brewer

GREENVILLE — The Darke County Commissioner’s Council met Thursday to discuss grant applications and county transportation. Commissioners Matt Aultman, Mike Stegall and Larry Holmes were present.

The FY2022 airport terminal project grant application and letter of recommendation to hire Westerheide Construction Co. to rebuild the terminal received a 2-1 vote for phase three of four. The total bid was $2,134,900.

Based on review and available funding, CMT recommends that County Commissioners accept and award the project for the Base Tender, pending Federal ATP Grant funding, for a total value of $2 $065,000 to Westerheide Construction.

We’ve been through the bidding process for the past two months, and we’re in part three of four with this project,” Aultman said. “We need to send the application and their recommendation pending FAA approval funding.”

Commissioner Holmes opposed the recommendation saying he found it difficult to support it.

“We started at 1.4 million and went up to 2.8 million on the initial offers that came in,” Holmes said. “I understood that we were going to receive an application and a response from the FFA before having to award the contract.

He said it was an extra half a million dollars, and they were “talking real money”, so he has a hard time supporting that recommendation given that during one of their last engineering conferences with CMT, they learned that tower movement is not necessary. by the FAA.

“I’m just not in a position to support that right now,” Holmes said.

Aultman responded by stating that the bidding process had been underway for just over a year and a half. They submitted an AIP plan last year, as a way to show a 10-year plan for the airport, and it was picked up by Senator Portman.

“We received federal funding, to our surprise, that we received $1.35 million for this project,” Aultman said. “93% of which was eligible and 5% is covered by ODOT Aviation, so the county only has to pay 5%.”

Five percent of the cost is estimated at around $100,000. When you deduct the two, the county has a local share of $400,152 of the remaining balance. Aultman went on to explain where all the funding comes from and ends by saying the expenses will be reimbursable.

“So over the next two years, the $400,000 plus the 5% will be repayable from those funds,” Aultman said. “The county is only on the hook for about $100,000.”

He said for local disbursements, the “$2 million tower is going to cost us about $100,000” after reimbursement of program dollars.

“It’s just committing future dollars that won’t be available for other things that haven’t been identified or raised,” Holmes said. “It’s just a lot of money.”

After receiving a majority vote in favor, the commissioner will submit the letter of recommendation and grant application to the FAA for review.

Commissioner Holmes informed the Board that the Community Action Partnership (CAP) would end the transport provided at the end of the calendar year.

“It was definitely news for the commission’s board, because we had a few calls,” Holmes said.

He said CAP will continue through Dec. 31 with a contract they have with their agency, but CAP funding for transporting people with medical needs out of county is based on mileage.

“The way I understood it, and this will need to be confirmed with CAP as I may not be presenting this right, is that they are running out of miles at the end of December,” Holmes said.

Holmes reiterated that Greenville public transit is within the city limits and will be available. The commissioners try to solve the lack of transport before the end of the year; however, it will be difficult to meet the needs in the county.

“It’s something we’ll see what we can move forward, and it underlines the real need. We’ll continue after that, but I’m not hoping we’ll find a solution by December 31,” Holmes said. .

Holmes said he wanted to spread the word, so the community could be aware of the change coming in the new year.

“I hate spreading the word saying ‘here’s a problem. We don’t have a solution”, but that’s really the message I have. It’s a bit of a helpless feeling right now because there’s a need, but we don’t have a cost-effective solution,” Holmes said.

Stegall said in support of what Homes said, this situation arose at the last minute, as he received a phone call last week about the situation being followed by others.

“It’s really recent. Like in a week and a half, and we’ve been calling people. As Holmes says, that’s where the problem is, but we don’t have a solution. Nobody has an answer yet” , said Stegall.

The Darke County Board of Commissioners meet every Tuesday and Thursday at 1:30 p.m. in their office at 520 S. Broadway Street in Greenville. To contact the office, call 937-547-7370.

To contact Daily Advocate reporter Meladi Brewer, email [email protected]

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