County approves FAA grant to improve city-county airport runway

LifeCore Director Raquel Rosamond tells supervisors about services to Union County residents.

The New Albany-Union County Airport continues to see improvements thanks to a grant approved by the board of supervisors Monday.

The airport is receiving a Federal Aviation Administration Air Improvement Program $425,915 grant to reseal the runway surface and repair section joints. While many FAA grants require at least a 10-percent local match, this grant is for 100 percent of the cost, supervisors said.

The airport also has a new terminal building that, although complete, has not had a formal opening.

Started in 2018, the terminal was to be paid for with a $540,000 FAA grant. The low bidder, Steel-Con, bid $556,925 but agreed to reduce the cost to the amount of the grant. The city and county each paid two and one-help percent of the total cost.

The new terminal, to replace the half-century-old one, has a lobby, offices, pilot lounge and other amenities.

The airport has more traffic than most people realize and this is partly because of its 24-hour fuel availability and ease of getting in and out of the area.

Plans include lengthening the runway to allow larger jet traffic.

Funding request

With budget time approaching, the county board heard a funding request from the LifeCore Health Group.

Known for many years as Region III, LifeCore provides mental health services to people in the area, helps with chemical dependency and has a presence in area schools to aid students.

Director Raquel Rosamond told supervisors that over the past year LifeCore had served 849 Union County residents and admitted 141 to their chemical dependency program. They have mental health therapists in seven Union County schools, have 16 Union County residents as employees, have a Union County staff payroll of $698,988 and purchased $126,892 in goods from local vendors.

Additionally, their patient assistance program provided $34,095 to help Union County residents pay for medication.

LifeCore has a mobile crisis response team hotline manned 24 hours a day at 1-866-255-9986.

Melissa Glasson represents Union County on the LifeCore board of directors and is a former employee there.

Personnel

In personnel, supervisors voted for a pay increase for Helen Randle in the circuit clerk’s office, and longevity increases for Rickey Watson in the road department and Blake Owens in the solid waste department.

They approved a change of employment from part time to full time for Melinda Page in the sheriff’s department and from a 12-hour shift to an eight-hour shift for Modess Nesbit at the county jail.

Purchasing

In purchasing, the board authorized the purchasing clerk to accept quotes rather than having to bid in certain situations. This was explained as a way to expedite purchases in situations that might not be emergencies but when quick action was needed, such as when the county recently experienced such heavy flooding.

Supervisors voted to accept low quotes from G and O Supply for needed culverts with the low prices being about $4,000 less expensive.

They approved holding a reverse auction to purchase a new broom sweeper for the road department and accepted a low quote from Farrow-Ward in Ripley for a replacement engine for a sheriff’s car. The engine, for a 2016 Ford Explorer, will cost $7,074, about $1,100 lower than the other bid.

The board approved a lease arrangement with the district attorney’s department for the former law offices of John Pennebaker across from the courthouse. The lease payments, along with a grant received, will offset the cost to the county for purchase of the building. The local staff members were working in the old jail.

Supervisors also approved a change order for renovation work on the county courthouse. It was explained that contingency funds would not be used, reducing the cost by $5,000.

The next scheduled board meeting will be at 10 a.m. Monday. Aug. 16, in the chancery courtroom.

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