Archived Story

Advisory chair questions Pratt about airport plans

Published 11:18am Friday, August 16, 2013

If Lawrence County has to borrow money to pay for the settlement of an ongoing eminent domain lawsuit at the Lawrence County Airport, it will do it without the vote of Commission President Bill Pratt.

For about 30 minutes at the Thursday county commission meeting, Bill Nenni, chair of the county’s airport advisory board, questioned Pratt about the county’s intentions toward the airport, in particular the status of a proposed lighting project and funding for acreage the county is currently seeking through eminent domain at the airport.

The land is sought to meet safety directives from the Federal Aviation Administration including cutting trees at the end of the runways. The county’s appraiser has valued the land at $280,000 while the owners, the Wilson family, say it is worth $1.8 million.

Pratt has publicly expressed concern that, if the court would declare the value of the property closer to the Wilson’s appraisal, the county would have difficulty covering that cost. The commission president has also been a long advocate of shutting down the airport to market the land for commercial development.

According to Nenni, if certain FAA procedures are followed in eminent domain lawsuits, the agency can provide up to $450,000 to pay for acquiring the property.

Nenni asked if the price were above that, would the county borrow the remainder of the funds needed.

“I don’t intend to vote to borrow money to settle the eminent domain,” Pratt said.

Nenni questioned if Chesapeake attorney Richard Meyers, who represents the county in the lawsuit, was aware of these FAA requirements.

“Mr Meyers is a very capable attorney,” Pratt said. “He has done a lot of eminent domain lawsuits in the past.”

Commissioner Les Boggs suggested the commission write a letter to Meyers detailing the FAA regulations.

“If there were steps to follow, it would be a horrible thing if the steps were not followed and we would not be eligible for anything,” Boggs said.

If the county didn’t borrow the funding, the airport could not cover that cost with its $30,000 a year budget, Nenni said.

“I don’t see any reason we have to be treated any different than other offices,” Nenni said. “None of the other offices owned real estate and yet we are expected to pay for real estate.”

Nenni also questioned Pratt about the commissioner recently joining the board of the Huntington-Tri-State Airport. At the time he joined, Pratt said that it would give Lawrence County another voice in Tri-State development.

“How much does it cost Lawrence County to have a member on the Huntington airport board?” he asked.

Pratt said the annual fee was $5,000

“We are going to spend $5,000 on the Huntington Airport and not a nickel on our own,” Nenni said.

“That’s up to these two gentlemen over here (referring to Boggs and Commissioner Freddie Hayes)” Pratt said.

Nenni also expressed concern about the possibility of losing FAA grant money to install radio-activated lights at the airport runways to allow night flying. The county can get $25,500 to pay for the project.

Pratt has wanted the Tri-State Pilots Association to pick up the 10 percent match, which Nenni said it had available.

As far as moving forward on the project, the commission did not take any action on Thursday.

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  • jimmer

    Has Freddy Hayes ever uttered a quotable word while being commissioner? Or is he just never there?

    (Report comment)

  • mikehaney

    “We are going to spend $5,000 on the Huntington Airport and not a nickel on our own,” Nenni said.

    “That’s up to these two gentlemen over here (referring to Boggs and Commissioner Freddie Hayes)” Pratt said.

    Nenni also expressed concern about the possibility of losing FAA grant money to install radio-activated lights at the airport runways to allow night flying. The county can get $25,500 to pay for the project.

    Pratt has wanted the Tri-State Pilots Association to pick up the 10 percent match, which Nenni said it had available.

    (Report comment)

  • mikehaney

    Idea—close Lawrence County airpark and send all those rich guys(corporate also) to Kentucky to play(and spend their money).
    ——————
    Ashland Regional Airport (DWU)
    This airport maintains a 5,600 foot, paved runway for general aviation and corporate use – approximately 9 miles (15 minutes) from downtown Ashland. Airport closed to commercial flights.
    Airline services:
    Private
    Business
    Corporate

    501 SCOTT ST.
    Worthington, KY 41183
    606-494-2034

    Lawrence County Airpark (HTW)
    – Located approximately 12 miles (15 min) from downtown Ashland. This airport maintains a 3001 ft, paved runway for general aviation and corporate use – approximately 12 miles (15 minutes) from downtown Ashland. Airport closed to commercial flights.
    Airline services:
    Private
    Business
    Corporate

    9654 County Road 1,
    South Point, OH, 45680
    740-894-4144

    (Report comment)

    • mikehaney

      Rich West Virginians also. We don’t want them in our state. :(

      (Report comment)

  • Ozzy

    I am glad Mr. Pratt is questioning this airport. I read all the time about our County Office Holders crawling to the Commissioners begging for money just to get them going through the year. I also see how the Commissioners, instead of helping the Offce Holders, pass out money to every group that comes asking while the office holders struggle to do their jobs and keep us safe.

    Now, how many Lawrence County citizens house or use this airport compaired to non Law. Co. citizens? How much revenue does this airport generate? How much is it costing the citizens of Law. Co. to keep it open?

    My tax dollars can be better spent on a law enforcement officer, ambulance, or other more important office than to give some rich guy a place to park his toy.

    (Report comment)

    • mikehaney

      1. According to Nenni, if certain FAA procedures are followed in eminent domain lawsuits, the agency can provide up to $450,000 to pay for acquiring the property. – See
      Question: Why does the county have to own the land to cut the trees down? Or is it also for extending the runway.

      2.Ok, then I guess a shopping mall built won’t allow those nasty Kentuckians or West Virginians to shop there.
      Cost? See no. 1

      3. Rich guys.(heard this way to often) Worked with two refinery people. One an instrument maintenance hourly worker. Other a maintenance supervisor. Three relatives. One runs library and teaches at a Baptist college in NC. He flies his own plane.
      Two never had a private plane. One flew recon in a lite plane for the Army, Other retired from Air Force after piloting bombers.Either could have ended up owning a lite plane.

      (Report comment)

  • Mr. Douglas

    I think our county appraiser is just fine. I like his work just fine. In the case of the property needed for the airport safety, I trust our county appraiser to properly evaluate the land. It doesn’t take a “Big City” highly paid member of the National Association of Real Estate Appraisers Blue Ribbon, Winner’s Circle, Gold Star, Diamond Club, President’s Council, member of the Golf and Country Club of Greater Cincinnati, to determine the value of what is mostly FLOOD LAND.

    If that eminent domain jury accepts the numbers from Wilson’s Big City appraiser rather than our own county appraiser, does that mean that all our property may be re-valued at a higher rate in the future? Or is that just for Wilson’s to get more for theirs?

    I think my property was appraised by the Wilson Big City appraiser because my taxes are just too dang high. Can someone send our County appraiser out to my place and make a possible reevaluation. Don’t bring Wilsons’ Big City appraiser or my taxes may go through the roof!

    (Report comment)

  • mikehaney

    Pratt has publicly expressed concern that, if the court would declare the value of the property closer to the Wilson’s appraisal, the county would have difficulty covering that cost. The commission president has also been a long advocate of shutting down the airport to market the land for commercial development. – See more at:
    ————————
    Shopping centers are a risky business, and not a job to be taken on by a county commissioner with taxpayer money. Also,
    Who would go into such a location with Sam’s Club, Wal-mart and Lowe’s just down the road. JC Penny?

    (Report comment)

  • mikehaney

    Mick– I am a proud member of the Democratic Party, even with it’s faults

    (Report comment)

  • mickakers

    Bill Pratt is not constantly fighting against the citizens of Lawrence County as Mike Haney purports but representing the best interests of Lawrence county citizens.

    (Report comment)

    • mikehaney

      I didn’t give Bill Pratt my vote to be a Mall developer.

      (Report comment)

  • mickakers

    As a PS; “decisive” should read deceive. These old fingers are getting a bit uncontrollable.

    (Report comment)

  • mickakers

    mikehaney; You have been playing in extreme right field for so long, I fear you have tumbled into the bleachers. The distinguished gentleman from Lawrence County Ohio, Bill Pratt is a member of the Republican Party (your party) I feel it would behoove you to support him, I do, and I am a proud member of the Democratic Party, even with it’s faults. I have no prejudice when it comes to private enterprise, in fact, I have great admiration for those who have the courage to venture into the unknown. I do have disdain for those who decisive and take advantage of the public for their own private profit and advantage. Mike, your lack of vision is quite obvious and demonstrated by your comments.

    (Report comment)

    • mikehaney

      Mick–mikehaney; You have been playing in extreme right field for so long
      —————-
      Statement from a true democrat.
      Since when is pro-life, pro-family, pro-free enterprise extreme right. Just because you are so far left you can’t see anybody to your right doesn’t make my position extreme.

      (Report comment)

    • mikehaney

      Mick– and I am a proud member of the Democratic Party.

      Proud of all 55 million dead babies you supported killing.

      (Report comment)

  • mickakers

    My compliments to Bill Pratt for his insight and common sense when decisions are to be made in regard to the Lawrence County Airport, also his foresight in becoming a member and representative of Lawrence County on the Tri-State Airport Board. The Huntington Tri-State Airport is the wave of the future that helps unite the Tri-State area. The Lawrence County Airport is primarily a playground for private pilots, similar to the Worthington, Ky. Airport and does not justify the expense to the community in expanding it’s services.

    (Report comment)

    • mikehaney

      Mick– The Lawrence County Airport is primarily a

      playground for private pilots.
      ——————-
      Your prejudice against private enterprise is showing again Mick.
      And since when is the Tri-State Airport the wave of the future?
      For a county commissioner to constantly fight against citizens of Lawrence County doesn’t make sense. What is going on? I thought a deal was made a couple weeks ago and here we are again.

      (Report comment)

  • mikehaney

    This puts Pratt prejudiced against Lawrence County.
    —————–
    Nenni also questioned Pratt about the commissioner recently joining the board of the Huntington-Tri-State Airport. At the time he joined, Pratt said that it would give Lawrence County another voice in Tri-State development.

    (Report comment)

  • mikehaney

    Commissioner Les Boggs suggested the commission write a letter to Meyers detailing the FAA regulations. – See more ———–
    Good call commissioner!

    (Report comment)

  • mikehaney

    Pratt needs to go next election, and in the mean time, set him in a corner facing the wall. Lawrence county should be able to do better.

    (Report comment)

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