The Madison County Airport Board attempted to get one step closer to funding updates to the airport board for 30 new T-Hangars in seeking the approval of Resolution 13-2019, which deems the cities of Berea, Richmond and Madison County co-signers for a $500,000 loan to fund the improvements.
The project in total is estimated to be nearly $1.3 million, but with $800,000 received from grant funds, the airport board is taking money from a private banking sector for $500,000, requiring the three government entities as co-signers for the loan.
Council member Emily LaDouceur explained her decision to later vote no for the loan saying when the board members spoke in a special meeting about the loan, they failed to explain to her how the council would receive its return on investment.
"It seems to me like we are co-signing on some kind of yacht-club investment," she said.
She cautioned the city council against co-signing for the $500,000 loan for T-Hangars that "are an eyesore."
Council member Jerry Little questioned what the guarantee would be that the money would be returned to the entities prompting airport board member George Wyatt to say it would be paid back with ease.
He explained to the council with the hangars generating anywhere from $80,000 to $105,000 per year and the board having no existing debts, all revenue generated would go toward repayment.
LaDouceur noted most of the planes that utilize the airport currently were not of industrial use, but mostly owned as pleasure, which Wyatt referred to as a "quality of life thing."
She argued against the agreement as it was for such a large amount, and it was mostly used for only pleasure, which accounted for a small percentage of Bereans.
The resolution passed seven to one with LaDouceur against it.
During council comments, council member David Rowlette said he supported the efforts of the airport board and its expansion, noting it is critical for the continued industrial and commercial expansion of Berea.
The resolution has already been signed by the city of Richmond. It still requires the signature of the county judge/executive on behalf of Madison County.
In other business:
• The council approved Resolution 12-2019 for a shared-use path connecting the Berea College Campus to the commercial district of U.S. 25 with a path on the north side of Ellipse Street. The project is funded through the Kentucky Department of Transportation in the amount of $279,950.
• Berea City Attorney Jerry T. Gilbert will review Ordinance 16-2019, which allows the sale for property at 103 Meadowlark Drive to the highest bidder. Council members said they wanted to adjust the language to have a set minimum bid requirement.
• The council welcomed new employees Robin Adams and Donna Angel to the city.
The next Berea City Council meeting will be Dec. 17, 6:30 p.m. at the Berea Municipal Building, 304 Chestnut St., Berea.