January 12, 2011 Edition

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Airport employees to receive raise

Gloria Wilkerson
Staff Writer

Walnut Ridge Airport employees will receive a 50-cent-an-hour raise on their next paychecks. Airport manager Mitch Whitmire asked airport commissioners for a raise for airport personnel at Monday night's meeting, and they voted in favor of the salary increase. Whitmire's salary will stay the same.

After a yearlong disagreement with commissioners, Allied AgCat owners have reached an agreement with the commission on a new lease for their business. The two-year lease includes a $200 per month increase.

Commission chairman Dan Coker said the rate increase is retroactive, and the company will have to pay the $200 a month increase from February 2010 through December 2010. Allied AgCat had been paying $1,100 per month last year until a lease agreement could be reached.

In anticipation of the possibility that buildings on airport property, which have been tax exempt heretofore, may soon become taxable, the commission agreed to consider the possibility of hiring an attorney on retainer.

If the commission is required to begin paying property taxes on their buildings, lease agreements may have to be adjusted and an attorney needed. Coker said he would gather information about a potential attorney and present it at next month's meeting.

Whitmire will start informing tenants of the possible tax status change and examining all lease agreements.

In other business:

  • Whitmire informed the commission about the ongoing cleanup of airport property, including the removal of two old buildings left by Morgan Portable Buildings when they vacated the premises.

  • discussed placing an ad in Fly-Low, an aviation publication, in the spring to generate more fuel sales.

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