Cambridge Municipal Airport officials met with Cambridge and Guernsey County leaders on Tuesday to continue discussions regarding needs at the general aviation facility on Brick Church Road south of the city.
After the City of Cambridge and Guernsey County contributed $65,000 apiece to help the airport with a projected budget shortfall for daily operations during 2022, Manager Terry Losego sought to discuss potential "in-kind" services by the city and county to address other issues at the airport.
"First, I want to say thank you for the appropriations by both the city and county that's going to save us and allow us to operate somewhat in a normal manner this year with the exception of some trees that we need to deal with and crack repairs," said Losego.
The trees and accompanying brush referred to by Losego are located in Chapman Run and create a safety hazard for pilots.
"The last 20 years I have taken care of those trees with community works from the (Guernsey County) common pleas court, but because of COVID we have not had those workers for the last five or six months," said Losego. "The trees are at the same level as the airport and the FAA (Federal Aviation Authority) is not happy."
According to Losego, FAA requirements prevent trees from being more than 6 inches higher than the runway for 250 feet from the centerline in each direction.
Portions of Chapman Run are located within 40 to 50 feet of the airport's runway.
The estimated cost in the airport's budget to remove the trees is $10,000, which all in attendance agreed would be significantly higher if professional tree crews are hired for the job.
Losego proposed the city, county and Guernsey County Community Development Corporation, which was represented at the meeting by Director Ron Gombeda, join forces to tackle the job and save funds for other needs at the facility.
Commissioner Dave Wilson said the county would need to work through Engineer Paul Sherry, as the engineer's office/highway department is the only county department that has the equipment to assist with the project.
"We would need to get Paul involved because we don't have any authority over their budget," said Wilson.
Cambridge Service Director & Superintendent Tom Lanning and Gombeda agreed to take a look at the area along Chapman Run along with Sherry to determine what the project would require from each agency.
"We can help," said Gombeda. "That's not an issue, but I am concerned about the size of the trees and how far down in the run they are located."
The group is expected to visit the grounds before the next meeting in March.
The crack repairs on the runway and two taxiways that connect the runway with aprons, hangars, terminals and other facilities is expected to cost the airport $26,000 based on an estimate obtained by Losego.
The dilemma facing airport officials is a proposed $1.8 million grant by the FAA that would take care of most of the project, but requires a local match.
"The FAA is more than likely going to offer us a grant in the spring that could do everything," he said of the crack repairs.
Losego said the airport has $56,000 in funds that could be used toward an $87,000 local match that is based on an engineer's estimate. The project that requires a 10% match to receive FAA funding with the State of Ohio paying the other $87,000.
The airport would still be required to pay non-API eligible costs resulting from the FAA not paying for certain areas of aprons or taxiways.
A 50-foot area in front of the main hanger would cost the airport approximately $51,000 and a 27-foot section of taxiway that would cost the airport $84,000 to fix.
The FAA is also expected to offer a $1.3 million grant that would allow for the majority of the project to be completed, but not all of the necessary repairs.
The airport is facing a May 1 deadline to inform the FAA if they have the support and funding to move forward with the grant.
Losego also discussed infrastructure funding potentially available to the airport after five annual installments of $110,000 was approved. He said the problem is they don't know if the funds will requirement a local match or the requirements for project funding.
"We are trying to find those things out," said Losego.
The airport is also exploring other funding options potentially available to the facility.
The group agreed to meet again at 10 a.m. March 1 to further discuss the issues facing the airport.
In the meantime, officials will view Chapman Run and seek answers to some of the questions regarding potential funding sources and grant requirements.
In other business, commissioners approved the following resolutions:
Two projects by JERCO Mechanicals of Cambridge at the Guernsey County Jail. The projects include a sewer line excavation to include removal of a washer and dryer to repair or replace a cast iron pipe in the laundry area at a cost of $6,250 and replacing a 100 gallon high-efficiency hot water tank for $11,789. Both projects will be paid from the County Building Fund with an expected completion date of Feb. 3.
Amendments of $1,500 for Fair Housing and $37,100 for Home/Building Repair were approved for the county's Temporary Appropriations for 2022.
Established new Public Health Workforce Grant and COVID-19 Vaccination Grant funds at the request of the Guernsey County Auditor's Office. The funds will be administered by the Cambridge-Guernsey County Health Department.
Approved overtime for a county maintenance department employee.
Appoint Commissioner Dave Wilson to serve as an ex-officio member of the Guernsey County Visitors and Convention Bureau Board.
Appoint Commissioner Jack Marlin to serve on the Southeast Diversified Industries Board.
Guernsey County commissioners meet each Tuesday and Thursday in the County Administration Building, 627 Wheeling Ave. in downtown Cambridge.
To be placed on the agenda, call the office at 740-432-9200.
This article originally appeared on The Daily Jeffersonian: Airport officials continue funding discussions with county, city