Council suggests joint meeting over Airport Authority issues

PHILIPPI – During a pre-meeting work session, Philippi City Council members suggested organizing a meeting to discuss how to proceed after four resignations were tendered by Philippi/Barbour County Airport Authority members.

All four resignations were submitted on Oct. 17, citing reasons from health issues to budget frustrations as causes for resigning. Airport Authority President Dean Springer, Secretary/Treasurer Alice McDonald, 20-year member Craig Bolton and eight-year member Mike Johnson all submitted their resignations.

City Manager Karen Weaver, who also is an Airport Authority member, said she has had conversations with another current member and with Barbour County Commissioners about what will happen with the Airport Authority in the wake of the resignations.

Weaver suggested hosting a joint meeting between Philippi City Council, the Barbour County Commission and the Airport Authority.

“I think that we should,” Weaver said, later adding that she would contact County Administrator Chuck Foley about a joint meeting.

Council members seemed to be in agreement that a joint meeting should take place even though all the resignations came from county-appointed members.

“I think we need to meet with them (county commissioners), and I think we need to meet with the Airport Authority too,” Councilman Ed Larry said.

In an interview last month, Springer told The Inter-Mountain that he and other members of the Airport Authority are upset because they do not have an operations budget that allows them to hire someone to perform day-to-day upkeep tasks, such as replacing light bulbs at the regional airport. As a result, members have become responsible for completing them.

Only Springer cited the budget concern in his resignation letter.

Councilwoman Barbara Bryan referred to an article in Tuesday’s Inter-Mountain in which Commission President Jedd Schola suggested a drag race fundraiser during Monday’s commission meeting.

Schola had said that Elkins has hosted drag races at its regional airport in the past, raising about $15,000 per event. Schola said that he feels this could be a way for the airport to raise funds for the operations budget.

“I don’t want us to go out and meet with the County Commission and say we’re going to have a drag race, and then the Airport Authority say ‘Wait a minute, we don’t want to be having a drag race, or a bake sale or whatever,'” Mayor Jerry Mouser said

Mouser said that he would also like to hear from the Airport Authority about whether it has any suggestions for people who could be appointed to the soon-to-be-vacated spots. The Airport Authority is comprised of 10 appointed members. In addition to Weaver, Councilman Jeff Allen also is a member of the Airport Authority.

A date for the proposed meeting has not yet been set.

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