Board approves PAPI, obstruction bids for airport

Published 11:26 am Wednesday, August 12, 2015

One week after agreeing to keep the Vicksburg Municipal Airport open, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved bids for removing trees at the end of the north runway and installing the airport’s precision approach path indicator.

The board Monday accepted a $54,221 bid from Killen Electric Inc. to install the PAPI, and a bid of $142,185 from Look’s Great Service Inc. of Columbia to clear the woods. The board also authorized filing an application with the Federal Aviation Administration for $150,000 in federal funds for the project. The city earlier received approval from the FAA for up to $144,000 in federal funds for the work. It must file a second application to get the necessary funds.

The board Aug. 8 agreed to keep the airport open after a July 16 public hearing and visits to the airport and Vicksburg-Tallulah Regional Airport by Mayor George Flaggs Jr. and Aldermen Michael Mayfield and Willis Thompson. Vicksburg is one of VTR’s four owners.

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“That airport is at full capacity, we receive revenue from fuel sales and hangar rentals … I see it as an amenity to the city,” Thompson who represents the South Ward, which includes the airport, said of the decision to keep it open. “We have pilots that use it, we have some industries that still fly into that airport.

“It’s just my opinion, why would you give away 100 percent of what you own for 25 percent,” he said. “With 100 percent, you’re going to have flexibility that will allow (the board) to make any decision we want to make for the use of the airport, and you don’t have that flexibility with 25 percent, and then you have that money that you are taking out of the city of Vicksburg. It’s just not feasible to close the airport.”

He said the majority of the funds for the airport come from the FAA, “And if the FAA sees it viable to continue to fund it with hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars, who are we to disagree with that?”

In other action, the board:

• Recognized the following employees on their anniversaries: Lee Roy Anderson, fire department, 15 years; Kevin Bass, street department, and Kenneth Conley, fire department, five years.

• Adopted the board meeting minutes for  May 22 and June 1 through 15.

• Received an update on activities at the Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation.

• Authorized City Clerk Walter Osborne to set the public hearing on the fiscal 2016 budget for 5:30 p.m. Aug. 27.

• Authorized Osborne to advertise for bids for paving for the South Ward 2015 street resurfacing project.

• Authorized Community Development Director Victor Grey-Lewis to clear and clean the following properties: 722 Adams St., 600 Depot St., 806 Grove St., 1426 Howard St., 1428 Howard St., 1611 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., lot on Meadow Street.

In a related matter, the board gave Joseph Bingham a 30-day extension to remove or begin repairing a building at 1216 Fayette St., and gave Willie Jackson 20 days to present a plan to repair a dilapidated building at 532 Field St.

• Approved a request to advertise an Aug. 19 ribbon-cutting and inaugural walk at the paved City Park walking trail.

• Accepted a $778.99 check from Travelers Insurance for repairs to water damage at the Ellis Building on Walnut St.

• Approved paying $250 for a full-page ad in the Hinds Community College football program.

• Authorized applying for a $2,500 Walmart Foundation grant for the city’s “Night Out Against Crime” program in October.

• Authorized Mayor George Flaggs Jr. to sign a rental agreement with Unitech for a new copier for the human resources department at $360 a month.

• Authorized Flaggs to sign agreements with Warren-Washington-Issaquena-Sharkey Community Action for utility payment assistance for low-income residents.

• Approved the claims docket.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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