Airport Improvement Grant receives 2 to 1 vote


By Meladi Brewer

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

The Fiscal Year 2022 Airport Terminal Project Grant Application and Letter Recommendation to hire the Westerheide Construction Co. to reconstruct the Terminal Building received a 2 to 1 vote for Phase three of four. The Bid total was $2,134,900.

Based on the review and available funding, CMT recommends the County Commissioners accept and award the project for the Base Bid, pending federal ATP grant funding, for a total value of $2,065,000 to Westerheide Construction company.

We went through the bidding process over the last couple of months, and what we are down to is part three of four with this project,” Aultman said. “We need to send the application in, and their recommendation pending funding from the FAA approval.”

Commissioner Holmes opposed the recommendation stating he struggles to support it.

“We started out at 1.4 million and moved to 2.8 million on the original bids that came in,” Holmes said. “I was understanding that we would be getting an application in and a response from the FFA before we needed to award the contract.”

He said this is an extra half-million dollars, and they are “talking some real money,” so he struggles with supporting this recommendation giving that in one of their last engineering conferences with CMT, they learned the movement of the tower is not required by the FAA.

“I’m just not able to support this at this time,” Holmes said.

Aultman responded by stating the bidding process has been going on for a little 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 were awarded some federal funding, surprisingly to us, that we were awarded 1.35 million towards this project,” Aultman said. “Of which 93 percent was eligible and 5 percent is covered by ODOT Aviation, so the county only has to pay 5 percent.”

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

“So over the next two years, the $400,000 plus the five percent will be reimbursable through those funds,” Aultman said. “The county is only on the hook for maybe around $100,000.”

He said for local out of pocket expenses, the “2.some million dollar tower is going to cost us around $100,000” after reimbursement from program dollars.

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

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

Commissioner Holmes briefed the board about the Community Action Partnership (CAP) will be ending their provided transportation at the end of the calendar year.

“This was certainly news to the commission board, as we have had a couple of calls,” Holmes said.

He said CAP will be running through Dec. 31 with a contract they have with their agency, but CAPs funding for transporting those with medical needs outside of the county is mileage based.

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

Holmes reiterated Greenville transit is within the city limits and will be available. The commissioners are trying to resolve the lack of transportation before the end of the year; however, it will be a struggle to fill the need in the county.

“This is something we will see what we can move forward, and it points out the real need. We will keep after it, but I would not hold out hope that we will come up with a solution between now and Dec. 31,” Holmes said.

Holmes said he wanted to get the word out, so the community can be aware of the change moving into the new year.

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

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

“This really is recent. Like within a week and a half, and we have called people. Like Holmes says, this is the problem, but we have no solution. Nobody has an answer yet,” Stegall said.

The Darke County Board of Commissioners meets every Tuesday and Thursday at 1:30 p.m. at their office located 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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