Airport grant could be forthcoming

Published 2:01 pm Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Chilton County Commission and Airport Authority need and want to be ready if funds become available for the county’s airport.

The Commission, at a regular meeting Monday with all commissioners in attendance, approved allowing Chairman Allen Caton to accept a grant for the airport should one be available in the coming weeks.

Billy Singleton with the Airport Authority said the group has received grants through the Federal Aviation Administration for the past several years, including a grant of $2.5 million for improvements to the airport’s runway.

The Airport Authority this year has applied for $1.5 million in grant money that would reimburse the Authority for a runway extension justification study and allow the Authority to acquire additional land surrounding the airport, Singleton said.

Once the FAA notifies the Authority that it has been approved for a grant, the Authority must accept the grant quickly.

“We have a very narrow window of opportunity to accept those grants, and to accept requires the signature of the Commission Chairman,” Singleton said.

While there is no guarantee that the Airport Authority will receive any or all of the requested $1.5 million, Singleton said he expects the application to be approved, at least in an amount approaching $1 million.

Singleton said the funds are not generated by taxes but instead come from the Aviation Trust Fund.

“If we don’t take advantage of it, there are numerous other airports that will,” he said.

The Airport Authority would be responsible for a 5-percent match of any grant from FAA.

Singleton said the runway expansion justification study has already been completed because officials wanted to expedite the process, and any grant money received would be used to reimburse the Authority.

In other business, the Commission:

•Approved a software agreement with Delta Computer, for the computer system used by the offices of the Probate Judge and the Revenue Commissioner.

•Approved line-item transfers in the Transit Department budget.

•Approved a letter in support of Chilton County Community Corrections, at the request of program Director Cheryl Maddox. Maddox, who gave a report to commissioners about the work of the program, said she is required to obtain an annual letter of support from the county’s governing agency. The program provides alternatives to incarceration.