December 11, 2013 Edition

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Airport commissioners
pass 2014 budget

Gloria Wilkerson
Staff Writer

Walnut Ridge Regional Airport commissioners passed a budget for 2014 at their regular meeting on Monday. Commission Chairman Dan Coker said the $415,000 budget is much less than budgets in previous years.

The budget has been impacted by a reduction in income, which is down $155,000 from 2010, and rising employee health insurance costs that will go into effect in 2014 under the Affordable Care Act.

Coker updated the commission on the problems with the runway lights. He informed them that airport engineer Stacey Morris has updated the airfield lighting diagram to indicate all changes made since 1956.

"This should help our electrician find the problems we've been having and assist him in repairing the lights," Coker said.

Runway lighting has been a problem for some time at the airport and the cause or causes have yet to be discovered.

Members also discussed the airport's real estate taxes and the negative effect it is having on the airport. State auditors have informed the commission that leased properties at the airport will be subject to property taxes for 2013. The airport has not had to pay these taxes before, and will now have eight buildings, 10 huts and 25 aircraft hangers assessed.

"Most of the new taxes will be passed on to our renters," Coker told the commissioners. The taxes will be added to tenants' leases.

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