To the Editor:
There have been several articles and comments published lately about the Carroll County Airport Authority.
The Airport Authority Board is appointed by the Carroll County Commissioners. Our purpose is to maintain, administer, and promote the county airport. Members of the board are all unpaid volunteers. To maintain the airport we have to work with the Federal Aviation Administration, Ohio Department of Transportation, State Auditor, our consulting engineers, and Carroll County. In order to operate the airport we have to comply with all of the rules and regulations that apply to us. Members have put a lot of time, sweat, and often their own equipment into the operation of the airport, because they have a passion for aviation and care about the airport.
Our airport is an important asset to the county providing aircraft maintenance, a restaurant, hangers and tie down space for about 30 airplanes, a courtesy car, and aviation fuel. It’s a port of entry for business and industry, and is an income source for the county. The airport is one of the most active small county airports in the state. We maintain a low fuel price to make it a popular stopping point for general aviation and we are getting an increase in commercial traffic. We do make a profit selling fuel.
Of all the responsibilities the Airport Authority has, the biggest headache by far is acting as landlord to our two commercial tenants, ie the Airport Restaurant and Lamp Aviation. The businesses are both valuable assets to the airport. We are not trying to force anyone out. We are trying to update their leases and raise their rent by a modest amount.
The restaurant lease expired in 2007. They have been paying $400 a month in rent. Last year the board gave the restaurant all of the airport-owned restaurant equipment, to eliminate being responsible for maintaining and replacement of the equipment. (In other words, the Airport Authority Board wants to be out of the restaurant business.)
Lamp Aviation’s lease expired in 2010. Mr. Lamp hasn’t had a rent increase since 2001 and is paying $600 per month for his commercial building.
Instead of coming to a board meeting to discuss their pending lease, the tenants went to the commissioners in an attempt to discredit and put down the Airport Authority in a public forum.
There needs to be a good working relationship, good communication, and a joint effort to maintain the airport in a manner we can all be proud of.
The Airport Authority Board meetings are held the last Monday of the month at 6 p.m. in Carroll Health Care Center, lower floor meeting room. Meetings are open to the public and the doors are not locked.
Soon to be retired airport board member