Funding will aid runway safety at DuBois Airport
Saturday, February 26, 2011
By Dianne Byers Staff Writer
REYNOLDSVILLE – Two local municipalities recently were approved to receive funding from the state Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Aviation, money that will help protect planes utilizing DuBois Regional Airport.
At yesterday’s meeting, Robert Shaffer, airport manager, reported to members of the Clearfield and Jefferson Counties Regional Airport Authority that $6,000 in grant funding has been allocated to Sandy Township and Washington Township, Jefferson County, to implement hazard zoning in the areas that surround the airport’s runway. Most of the airport lies within Washington Township but a small portion of Sandy Township, near the back side of Treasure Lake, is included within the approach path to the airport, Shaffer said.
According to the commonwealth’s Act 164, municipalities within the Federal Aviation Administration’s federal regulations are required to have ordinances giving them rights to administer and enforce regulations that stipulate heights of objects that could interfere with airport operations.
Shaffer said funds will pay 90 percent of the cost of legal fees, advertising costs and public meetings required to adopt hazard zoning and put it into practice. Sandy and Washington townships will contribute the remaining 10 percent of the cost. There will be no cost to the authority.
The funds will be distributed to the airport, which will forward the money to the two townships. Shaffer said the agency does not have a mechanism in place to give the money directly to the two municipalities.
March 16 is the deadline set by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Southern Florida for the creditors of Gulfstream International Airlines to file petitions for relief under Chapter 11. The airline, which provides essential air service from DRA to Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport, filed for bankruptcy in early November. The submission allowed the company to restructure its debt, secure long-term investments and financing and reorganize its company, according to published reports. Shaffer said he does not believe there will be any news about how debts will be paid until after the March date has passed.
GIA currently owes the authority more than $88,000, but Shaffer said he believes it will be paid as the authority received the money it was owed by GIA for its December billings and Gulfstream officials told him DRA has been listed as a critical creditor. He said a check with other local airports served by GIA noted DRA is seeing more cash flow from the company than they are.
In a protective measure, in January, the authority secured a $40,000 line of credit from Community First Bank. The loan, which has an interest rate of 3.25 percent, will be used as necessary to pay the airport’s daily operating costs in the event payments are not forthcoming. The Clearfield and Jefferson counties’ boards of commissioners also advanced the first quarter share of the counties’ $90,000 and $98,750 annual support allocations ahead of schedule.
In other business, the authority:
• hired Catalano, Case, Catalano and Fannin CPA, Clearfield, to perform an audit of the airport’s 2010 financial records at a cost of $8,500.
• approved the turn back of a .22-acre parcel of property that was formerly part of state Route 830, abandoned a couple years ago when the airport’s new access road off of Interstate 80 was constructed. The land will be sold to Joseph and Rosemary Barber at a cost of $422.40 plus the transfer of a .02-acre parcel of property located near the current intersection of Airport Road and Aviation Way, currently owned by the Barbers, to the airport.
Shaffer said work to complete the property transfer began about a year ago but only recently did the authority receive permission from FAA that allowed the transaction to be completed. Voting to approve were Todd Arnold, Loren Bishop, Jay Chamberlin, Gene Mineweaser, Joel Peterson and Rick Wise, authority members. Joe Barber, authority member, abstained from voting. Members David Stern and Scott Brubaker were absent.
• accepted reimbursement of $4,708 from the Bureau of Aviation – the agency’s 2.5 percent share of the cost associated with a project, done in the fall, to paint runway markings and seal cracks on the tarmac. A grant from FAA paid 95 percent of the cost with the bureau and the authority sharing the remaining 5 percent of the cost for the work.
The authority’s next meeting is March 25 at 8:30 a.m. at DRA’s boardroom.
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