County to bring on airport consultant
by Jennifer Cohron
Sep 17, 2013 | 1066 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Walker County Commission voted Monday to give chairman Billy Luster permission to select an airport consultant.

On the advice of county attorney Eddie Jackson, commissioners approved the motion through a voice vote rather than a formal resolution.

“I would suggest that you have a voice vote and authorize the chairman to find somebody to do that [consult], give them the credibility to go out and gather the information from other airports to see how we compare and then report back to y’all,” Jackson said.

Jackson added that the commission would be “well-served” by bringing on an airport consultant, especially if there is a possibility that the consultant would provide his or her services for free.

“I’ll take care of that immediately, gentleman,” Luster said after the motion passed.

Former state Sen. Charles Bishop approached the council at a recent budget work session and discussed some of his concerns about the airport.

“I would remind you that when the airport was built, it was told to the people of Walker County that it was strictly for the purpose of helping to recruit new businesses to come into the county. It hasn’t been utilized that way for quite some time,” Bishop said.

Bishop added that since the authority originally established to help manage the airport become inactive, the facility has become “a playground for private aircraft.”

He also noted that the airport is the first impression many business leaders get of Walker County.

“We’ve paid no attention to the airport. It’s a little better than it was, but it’s far from being something that is acceptable to people like myself who have flown into a lot of airports,” Bishop said.

During the work session, Bishop encouraged commissioners to consider appointing a consultant for the airport and offered to serve in such position himself if it was the commission’s wish.

In other action, the commission

•reappointed Jane Aswell, David Kelly and Mary Slaughter to the Walker County Board of Human Resources.

•approved several budget amendments to the 2012-2013 budget.

A vote on the new budget is expected at the first meeting in October.

•passed a proclamation designating Oct. 20-26 as Pro Bono Week.