$1 Million Airport Renovation Project Will Begin This Month

City Adopts Budget for 2018 Fiscal Year

An elaborate million dollar renovation project at Ava’s Bill Martin Memorial Airport is scheduled to begin the last week of June, Ava Mayor David Norman told the Ava City Council Tuesday night. The airport upgrade, 90 percent of which is funded by a grant through the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission, is scheduled to begin on June 26. The bad news is that the airport will be closed for a period of up to 60 days, but the good news is that the city will have a brand new airport when the work is completed. Airport manager David Davidson said the renovation will involve complete removal and replacement of the existing runway, including the underlying base. This extensive renovation should prolong the life of the runway by 20 years, Davidson said. The total cost of the renovation is just under $1 million, with the city’s share being slightly under $100,000. The Ava City Council adopted the city’s 2018 fiscal year budget at the regular meeting Tuesday evening at City Hall. The budget hearing was held at 10 a.m. Monday at City Hall. The 2018 budget calls for total expenditures of $11,885,141 and reflects an ending balance of just under $7.7 million. Mayor David Norman presided at Tuesday’s meeting with aldermen Burrely Loftin, Stan Lovan and Noel Dye present. Alderman Keith Jones was absent. At the onset of the meeting, Mayor Norman acknowledged the presentation of the Chamber of Commerce GEM (Generating Enriching Memories) Award to the Ava Police Department. Police Chief Reggie Johnson, who accepted the award on behalf of his department, was congratulated by the Council. Two resolutions were read by title and approved for adoption. The first, which was unanimously approved, authorized adoption of the annual budget which had just been approved. The second resolution read by City Clerk Suzanne Welsh and also adopted by unanimous 3-0 vote authorizes the city to continue its relationship and support of the Ava Area Chamber of Commerce. Community economic development falls under the umbrella of the Chamber of Commerce. In discussing financial matters of the city, Mayor Norman pointed out that the city will make the final payment this month on the current City Hall facility on S. Jefferson. When this payment of around $52,000 is made the city will owe nothing on the building nor on the remodeling that converted if from a bank building to the existing city hall facility. Other reports by the mayor included the ongoing landscaping project at City Hall, playground equipment upgrades at the City Park, recycling, and removal of abandoned houses in the city. In discussing the landscaping it was mentioned that a new water line is being run along the north side of the building. West Ward Alderman Stan Lovan said it was easier to run a new line than to find and repair a nonfunctioning water faucet on the front (west) side of the building. Zach Uhing will perform the landscaping for the city. A new, large piece of playground equipment for the park was ordered several weeks ago and should be arriving soon. Assembly and installation of the apparatus will be quite detailed and the city may hire a local contractor to do the work. In conjunction with that, the city will be replacing all pea gravel and rubber at the park with soft, commercial mulch. Also, a large slab of concrete must be broken up and removed. Velber Lehmann will remove the concrete for $1,500, Norman said. Mayor Norman reported that there are several abandoned houses in the city that need to be removed and the lots cleaned up. In some cases the city already holds a lien on the property so it would be most cost effective for the city to pay to have the houses removed, then sell the cleared lot to recoup some of the cost. These demolition projects would only be done with approval of the property owner, it was pointed out. Norman said he has also consulted with Lehmann regarding that clean-up. All the new street signs are now in place in the city and progress is being made on the changing of addresses through the Post Office. Mayor Norman said he has learned that the placement of mail boxes for rural delivery is done at the discretion of the mail carrier. In some instances, the mail box may not be in front of the residence, and in some cases may not even be on the same street as the residence. An effort is being made to get this corrected as the addressing system is updated. Norman said he was told that in regard to the addressing change, the Post Office will deliver mail to the old address for one year. Mayor Norman has been in contact with the Seymour Fire Chief in regard to lowering the city’s fire rating for insurance purposes. Norman said he learned that a combination of many things, from training of personnel to documenting hydrant pressure and mapping, can come into play in the overall process. Firefighting equipment is also a necessary part of the entire evaluation process, including trucks, hoses, nozzles, etc. Ava’s newest fire truck is a 1989 model. In regard to recycling, Mayor Norman said the recycling center south of town will no longer accept plastic but will continue to take metal and cardboard. Some issues regarding the recycling center were addressed in closed session, as well, following the open meeting Tuesday. Also in closed session, the City Council voted to move police dispatcher Evan Little from part time to full time status. Little will fill a vacancy created by the resignation of Candy Dilley. During the closed session the Board of Aldermen also discussed mandatory changes to be made in the municipal court system. This will involve separating some of the duties of police and court clerk personnel and may result in two part time positions rather than one full time position. Next month the city will be negotiating a new contract with the Douglas County Fair Board and with the Area Agency on Aging regarding operation of the Ava Senior Center, Norman said.