New city BoAC takes off as sole operator of airport

Lift-off of a new Board Aviation Commissioners officially came at 6:30 p.m. Monday.

For the first time, a newly appointed city board met and organized, putting Marlatt Field clearly under New Castle’s supervision. For more than 40 years, the airport had been a joint city-county operation.

County officials, charged with overseeing construction of a brand new jail, thought it best to bow out of any airport responsibilities last year.

The five-person city board features four pilots. Terms are staggered, with Tom Green serving the next three years, newly appointed Paul Janssen two years along with Don Cummings and Keith Pritchett one year each.

At first, officials believed Pritchett would no longer be able to serve since he does not live in the city. But City Attorney Joel Harvey researched the issue and found that indeed, Pritchett could still serve on the BoAC. So Mayor York immediately reappointed him.

“I appreciate everybody’s willingness to serve on this board,” Mayor Greg York said. “I’m very excited about where we’re at with this airport.”

Corey Murphy, New Castle’s President and Chief Executive Officer of the local economic development corporation, will continue serving as the BoAC president.

“With four of you as pilots, we bring a lot of experience to this board of aviation,” Murphy said.

Murphy thanked out-going member John Melton for his service to the board.

It was a changing-of-the-guard kind of meeting. York took time to thank Woolpert Engineering’s Chris Snyder, whose recent promotion will take him away from regular involvement at the local airport.

“A special thank-you to Chris Snyder,” York said. “I appreciate your professionalism and your company standing behind your work. I admire what you’ve done to help us in the last 12 to 18 months to resolve these drainage issues.”

Mark Shillington is now the local airport’s day-to-day representative from Woolpert.

The board also approved $240 for snow plow efforts by Marlatt on Dec. 1, 16 and 30. Marlatt said the new snow plow purchased last year is “wonderful” to operate.

“It’s one of the few times you’ll see me with a smile on my face when there’s snow around,” Marlatt said.

“We could have used that 43 years ago today,” York said, referring to the Blizzard of ’78.

As a side note, Murphy said he wasn’t yet born when that storm hit.

In other business, the board:

voted to keep the 6:30 p.m. fourth Monday of the month time and date for its regular meetings;

learned it had $226,043.23 available in a non-reverting fund along with a city budgeted amount of $167,201 from the city;

agreed to request local electricity provider Henry County REMC to start sending bills to the city instead of the county.

– Story by Darrel Radford (DRadford@TheCourierTimes.comof The Courier-Times. Read more local stories at www.TheCourierTimes.com.

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