May 15, 2013 Edition

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Airport Commission renews lease
discusses building repairs needed

Gloria Wilkerson
Staff Writer

Walnut Ridge Airport commissioners renewed Allied AgCat Production's lease and discussed water leaks at V&B Manufacturing's building at their meeting on Monday.

The lease on the building Allied AgCat uses for aircraft repairs and parts storage was renewed for the same term and same rate as its former lease.

They also discussed the building leased by V&B Manufacturing, which has a leak in the roof, as well as a water leak in the lines between the meter and the building or inside the building.

Marcus McDaniel, chief administrative officer of V&B, said he believes there is a water leak outside the building, and they have turned the water off to the north side of the front of the building. McDaniel said they need the water back on to keep their boilers on in the winter to keep their sprinklers from freezing.

John Kopp, manager of Walnut Ridge City Water Works, told the commission they have checked all the lines on the south side of the building and didn't find a leak there.

"We need to replace the service line from the meter to the building, a couple hundred feet, and then if there is still a leak, it will have to be coming from the inside of the building," he said.

City employees will dig the trench and put the new water line in.

The V&B building also has a leak in the roof, and estimates to repair or replace it have been obtained.

"Brothers and Sons Construction in Pocahontas gave us an estimate of $27,210," Chairman Dan Coker told commissioners. "An estimate from a company in Jonesboro was much higher than that."

Coker said a local bank has told him the airport can borrow the money at three-and-a-half percent interest for a five-year period.

"The last time we worked on that roof, we raised the rent to help pay for the repairs," Commissioner Sam Massey said.

He asked McDaniel if he thought his company would agree to a rent increase until the loan would be paid off, and McDaniel said he would have to talk to his boss before he could give the commission an answer.

The commission agreed to go ahead with the work if V&B agrees to the increase, but since the job will have to be put up for bids, the discussion was tabled until bids are received.

A Municipal Health Insurance increase coming in July was discussed, and the commissioners voted to see what the Walnut Ridge City Council decides to do about their insurance coverage before the commission makes a decision about the insurance coverage they pay for three full-time employees. Insurance for each individual will rise from $382.50 to $467.50. That amount will lessen by approximately $25 if they discontinue coverage for vision and dental.

"All that will change in October when the Affordable Care Act goes in effect," Coker said. Meanwhile, he will look into other insurance companies' prices and coverages.

In other business:

  • plans are underway to repair the airport's tetrahedron, which is believed to have been placed at the airport in the early 1940s by the military. Mayor Don House said he will talk to Harold Johnson about the history of the tetrahedron and check into the possibility of grant money to fund the repairs.

  • Airport Manager Michelle Anthony reported that the Parachute Inn has added new hours. Breakfast will now be served on Saturday as well as lunch on Sunday. She also said the restaurant building has a leak in its roof following the last big storm, as well as one in the 737 dining room. Plans for repairs were discussed, but funding the repairs is a problem.

  • commissioners voted to buy a new brush for the airport sweeper. The brush will cost $400 plus an additional $100 for shipping, according to Anthony.

  • the commission agreed to provide a shuttle service to people who fly in to the airport for the Beatles at the Ridge Festival in September. Rides into town and back will be provided.

  • Anthony, Coker and some of the other commissioners made plans to attend the Emergency Management Meeting in Little Rock on May 21. Coker said the Walnut Ridge Regional Airport will be the center of logistics in the state's Earthquake Emergency Plan.

  • the commission learned that Harold Johnson has donated a couple of bicycles for employees' and visiting pilots' use.

  • straightening a portion of a road by the Skil building was discussed but would be a very expensive undertaking. Coker said he did not think the FAA would allow airport money to be used for that purpose.

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