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City Finalizes Paperwork for Airport Runway Project, Okays Contract with Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission

By Sue Curry Jones

The oath of office was the first order of business Tuesday, as Mayor David Norman, along with East Ward Alderman Burrely Loftin, and West Ward Alderman Noel Dye were all re-elected in the municipal election held on April 4. The three candidates ran unopposed, and each one was sworn in during the business meeting held on Tuesday, April 11.

At the onset of the meeting, the board of aldermen officially adopted election results as certified by Karry Davis, Douglas County Clerk.  In the official certification, election tallies are cited as: David Norman, mayor, 358 votes; Burrely Loftin, east ward alderman, 169; and Noel Dye, west ward alderman, 214.

City Clerk Suzanne Welsh and City Attorney Larry Tyrrell, who are appointed by the mayor, also recited the oath of office.

In addition, council approved the mayor’s roster of appointments and officeholders to be affirmed after a municipal election, the designations are:  Reggie Johnson, chief of police; Peggy Porter, treasurer; Leisa Bloomer, collector; Tom Woods, fire chief; and Shannon Bryant Gamble, municipal judge.  These offices are annual appointments, except for Gamble, who is appointed to a two-year term.  Oren Alcorn and Scott Fleetwood were reappointed to the planning and zoning commission, with both serving a four-year term.

Council elected Burrely Loftin to serve as president.  Loftin, who has served as president for several years, received a unanimous vote from the board, with motions by councilmen Stan Lovan and Keith Jones.

In closed session, City Clerk Suzanne Welsh reported councilmen reviewed a number of applicants who have applied for a position with the Ava Police Department. Welsh noted officer applications will be accepted through April 21, 2017.  Council also discussed a litigation issue, but no actions or motions were forthcoming on either topic.

A resolution authorizing Mayor Norman to contract with the Missouri Highways and Transportation Com-mission for the construction of a new airport runway was approved in two readings, with unanimous votes from councilmen.   Upgrades to the Bill Martin Memorial Airport will include a new runway, taxiway, and the addition of a partial apron.

In the March 28 council meeting, aldermen voted to accept the proposed aviation trust agreement with H.W. Lochner, Inc., as well as accept the lowest bid on the project, which was submitted by Pace Construction.  The contract approval Tuesday evening finalizes the grant funding with the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission, and establishing the rules for receiving the airport aid and funding.  Ninety percent of the cost of the runway project will be paid through the State Aviation Trust fund grant.

In the agreement, the project has a total cost of $986,647, with Ava’s responsibility 10%, or $98,665.  To-date the city has paid $5212 toward the project and has an outstanding balance of $93,452.

The contract approved this week stipulates, “the project time period shall be from the date of execution of this Agreement to May 31, 2018.”  However, a construction start date was not discussed

Administrative Director Peggy Porter reports city funds are holding steady at $1.8 million, and all cash accounts are in the black.   Updating on projects, Porter said pool repairs are now paid in full as the work is finished; and, the sidewalk project, which upgraded walkways from the high school to the city park, are also completed with only minimal fees left unpaid.  However, Porter advised that the final payment on the new City Hall building is due in June.

Mayor Norman said the sidewalk project walk-through was completed this week, with only a few minor details noted on the report. He advised three additional crosswalks were added during the project, noting one crosswalk is at the intersection of NW 5th Avenue and NW 3rd Street, crossing NW 3rd Street, to the west of Life Church.  The other two crosswalks are in the next block to the west –– one crosses NW 4th Street, and the other crosses NW 5th Avenue, traveling south toward the post office.

Norman informed councilmen the annual contract with Jerry Pitts who bales hay on city property is now due for renewal.  Norman said the agreement states a value for each bale and that amount is then subtracted from the dozing work Pitt does for the City of Ava.  Norman noted he would have the agreement ready for review next session.

Council was advised the new street signs have been ordered, as final map revisions were finished last week.  Norman said the changeover will be implemented in stages, by quadrants, with the northeast section of town installed first.  He noted the City is waiting for proofs on signs that will be installed in the other two quadrants.

Norman acknowledged a firm has contacted the City about evaluating the stability of the water tower commonly referred to as the “old” water tower.   The tower is located on the southeast side of town, at the corner of SE 4th Avenue and SE 8th Street.  The company is examining the tower and ground site for Verizon who is interested in placing an antennae and communications equip-ment on and near the structure.   Norman said the City has also been contacted by AT&T who is interested in setting a communications tower in Ava, or nearby.

Councilmen attending the session were Stan Lovan, Noel Dye, Burrely Loftin and Keith Jones.

The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, April 25, at 5:00 p.m.  The sessions are held at City Hall.