City Council met in their regular monthly session April 19 at Ash Flat City Hall. The topics of discussion included, among other things, the Sharp County Regional Airport Authority (SCRAA) proposed expansion and the possibility of the city donating money to help fund the upcoming air show sponsored by the airport.
Following the Pledge of Allegience and determination of a quorum, the meeting proceeded with City Clerk Charlotte Goodwin calling roll. The council approved minutes for both the March 15 regular meeting and the March 22 and April 6 special meetings. There were no questions on department reports, so the meeting proceeded with unfinished business.
The first order of business on unfinished business was the proposed sale of Ash Flat City Hall and the purchase of another building to house the city offices. Since there was no action on the item, it was tabled until the next meeting.
The next item on the agenda was the proposed moving of the sewer pump located near Sonic. The civil engineers are resubmitting bids for relocating the pumps. Because there is a main sewer line, these pumps can not be shut down and must be moved, because there must be a back up sewer pump.
The state will move a sewer pump located near the intersection in Ash Flat for the upcoming highway construction at no cost to the city. The state has purchased 782 square feet of property from the city and will put a six-foot chain link fence in place with two strands of barbed wire around the pumps.
The possibility of the county getting an $873,100 addition for a taxiway to the Sharp County Regional Airport Authority was also discussed by Gary Harris with the SCRAA. He spoke to council seeking help, as he will with all the entities in funding the project.
Harris explained to council the requirement of the SCRAA to have a full length taxiway added to the airport to be in compliance with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in order to maintain the airport's Class 3 airport status.
The goal of the $873,100 project is to build the taxiway in phases, first beginning with the two northernmost sections. In notes from an April 7 meeting of the airport authority, it explains that the existing apron will be cut away from the runway so the planes must use the taxiway to access the runway, via an FAA requirement. In addition, this is a requirement of some corporations who fly into smaller airports.
Due to the fact the airport currently has this apron attached to the runway, the notes say that it is likely this is causing the airport to lose business from corporations.
The total estimated cost of $873,100 is to complete the project. SCRAA has $335, 200 available in funding from the FAA. The report says that the allotment of $150,000 yearly can be banked for up to four years. 95 percent of the $335,000 will be used for the taxiway, the other 5 percent will come from Arkansas State funding and that leaves a remaining $537,900, of which 10 percent will be funded by the SCRAA in joint council with Sharp County, Ash Flat, Hardy, Highland and Cherokee Village. Harris will be asking each entity for a yearly contribution of $2,164 for five years to pay off the loan.
Ash Flat council voted to give the SCRAA the required funding to secure the loan at a local bank, other cities have also done the same.
Harris stated that by completing both phases of the project in 2010, the county could realize approximately $6.1 million in revenues. This could open new doors for economic development in the county and allow Sharp County to compete for industry.
After Harris spoke, Ronald Schmidt, secretary of the SCRAA spoke to council about the air show to be held Sept. 17-19 at the airport.
Schmidt said the weekend will begin Friday with a fly-in and drive-in breakfast served by the Ravenden Masonic Lodge from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. for a donation. A carnival is also set for the event and will be sponsored by the Cherokee Village Lions. Ultra light and RC models by the Spring River RC Model Club will also competiton day one of the three day event.
Saturday the air show will officially open with an aerobatics show by "Greg Koontz Air Shows." The carnival will also be operational all day except during the aerobatics and comedy acts. Food will also be available.
There is currently plans for flyovers by a B2 bomber and either having an Air Force jet or helicopter on the grounds. The SCRAA is also making plans for the Highland High School Band to perform at the air show.
On Sunday, there will be another fly-in drive-in breakfast and an ecumentical church service set for 10 a.m. At 1 p.m., the Young Eagles will give airplane rides to children and Pilots for Christ will make rides available to adults for a donation.
Each of the cities have been asked for donations to help defray the cost of the event. Ash Flat City Council voted to make the contribution.
Ash Flat City Council meets the third Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend the meetings.