November 30, 2016 Edition

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Commission discusses
hiring a new manager

Megan Heyl
Staff Writer

While the Walnut Ridge Regional Airport has been running smoothly without a manager, commissioners still showed concerns at Monday's meeting about continuing operation without one.

Commissioner Gary Kearby suggested hiring a manager soon so they have time to learn the job before the airport's busy season. At a previous meeting, Chairman Don Cavenaugh had first discussed waiting until spring before evaluating the need of a manager in order to save some money for the airport.

The position is included in the proposed 2017 budget. Commissioner Lloyd Clark said he thought they had some strong applicants when they had last advertised the position.

Clark also expressed that he's heard concerns about the lack of a manager from some local pilots. Additionally, he said not having a manager could hinder the airport's ability to grow.

The commission will revisit the vacant position and decide how to proceed by January 2017.

Also at the meeting:

the commission approved the proposed 2017 budget, which will be sent to the Walnut Ridge City Council for final approval. Revenue is expected to be similar to 2016.

Cavenaugh reported that the airport made about $8,000 in the city's equipment auction according to early figures provided by Mayor Charles Snapp.

commissioners approved minimum standards requirements that will be included in all new leases.

Kearby inquired about switching to LED lighting. Cavenaugh said he thought former airport manager Michelle Anthony did some research on the upgrade but didn't have any current estimates on what it would cost. Kearby said he'd look into it and report back.

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