Bellefontaine Examiner

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In-house loan plan will give temporary funding for airport projects

BELLEFONTAINE CITY COUNCIL

NEG has hauled off 178 truckloads of tree debris

Program hiring for second group to start in June

Logan County has spent more than half of its $998,000 National Emergency Grant, with $300,000 on equipment, rent, supplies and fuel.

Alan Hale, coordinator with the Logan County Solid Waste Management District and manager of the program, said the money has been spent with locally-based vendors and held up several sheets listing the vendors as he updated the Bellefontaine City Council on Tuesday.

“We wanted to keep the money local,” he said. “And that’s what we’ve done.”

Personnel costs have hit $204,800 thus far to pay for five full-time employees and 14 trainees.

Logan County landed the grant in the wake of the June 2012 wind storm. It is designed to remove blockages from local waterways and trees that could fall into waterways, while providing training and work experience for underemployed or unemployed workers.

The current group of trainees will move on in June to make room for another group.

“If you know someone who is looking for training or work experience or just graduated and can’t find a job, send them down to Logan County Job & Family Services’ WorkPlus Office,” he said. The office is at 211 E. Columbus Ave.

WorkPlus is handling all applications and screening for the jobs.

Read the full story in Wednesday's Examiner.

Federal Aviation Administration officials finally released most of $600,000 to cover a new hangar project at the Bellefontaine Municipal Airport.

“We were told just this morning by the FAA that the money was released,” grant administrator Bob Berquist told the Bellefontaine City Council on Tuesday.

A total of four $150,000 annual grants will cover most of the cost for building an 8,000-square-foot hangar to house corporate-type aircraft and painting new stripes on the taxiways and runway.

Money from three of the grants for a total of $450,000 was released Tuesday and the remainder should be released by Sept. 1.

Nothing is guaranteed with the federal government, Mr. Berquist said, adding that Bellefontaine has always received the promised grants in the 15 years since the FAA started the program.

Pressed for time to meet state laws regarding the bid process, the administration asked the council to approve a plan to loan no more than $150,000 from the general fund to the project.

This money would only be used once the $450,000 is exhausted and it would be repaid once the final grant installment comes in.

“It should all be done this year,” Mr. Berquist said. “The bids were good for us, but we can’t hold them to it if we don’t act within 60 days.”

That would be June 4, according to his calculations.

Both Mr. Berquist and Service-Safety Director James Holycross said the winning bidder, Wester Hidy Construction out of Sidney, is concerned about increasing steel prices.

All of the plans for the $533,000 project are done and the contractor is ready to order the materials, Mr. Berquist said.

City Auditor Jack Reser pointed out to Finance Committee members that council could hold off on painting stripes to limit the project until the final grant comes in.

“That way you’re only really risking having to pay out $83,000 in a worst-case scenario,” Mr. Reser said.

Mr. Holycross said there are no signed leases for space in the hangar, but there has been several plane owners who have expressed interest in locating at the airport.

Hangar rental revenue helps support the airport operations.

Council members also approved on first reading an ordinance that will set aside 25 percent of the city’s annual general fund carryover balance.

This year more than $113,600 will be put in the capital improvement fund.

During the Finance Committee meeting, Chairman Mark Fissel proposed adding $275,000 in unexpected revenue into the capital improvement fund.

Bellefontaine has received $328,000 from an estate tax settlement and from a corporate income tax settlement.

Mr. Reser asked the committee to wait until after May to decide on how much to put aside.

While the city’s revenues are trending slightly upward, he would like to look at one more month of collections to see where the city’s finances are heading.

Mr. Fissel agreed and noted he wants to set aside funds for buying vehicles or paving streets or repairing city facilities.

The council next meets at 7:30 p.m. May 29.

Councilwoman Diane Hager announced the Derelict Housing Committee will meet at 4 p.m. June 4 in Council Chambers.

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