Airport hay will now go to bid

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 27, 2008

Assistant Lawrence County Prosecutor Bob Anderson has issued an opinion that the fairest way to resolve the conflict over hay cutting at the Lawrence County Airpark is to allow interested parties to bid on the rights to the hay, but commissioners indicated Thursday they will leave well enough alone— for now.

“Since hay growing on county owned property has monetary value, the county should advertise for bids and award the bid to the person who is offering the most money for the hay,” Anderson said in his letter.

Commission President Doug Malone said

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the commission will likely revisit the issue next year, rather than make any changes this year.

“I don’t see any reason in the middle of the year to do something,” Malone said. “We should let him (Vernon Collier) know possibly next year and let the airport get involved with this.”

For the last 40 or more years, generations of the Collier family, of Proctorville, have cut the hay on unused fields at the airpark to feed their livestock. But Comm-issioner Jason Stephens said another farmer came to talk to the commissioners back in the spring during a Tuesday work session and the commissioners agreed to send a fax to Nelson Whitt, of Attitude Aviation, the business that operates the airpark, explaining that the other farmer had interest in cutting the hayfield. Whitt said he had tried repeatedly to call Collier but could not reach him. Collier said he did not know the county officials had pulled the plug on his hay cutting until the other farmer called and asked him why Collier was still cutting hay after the commission told the other man he could cut the hay.