City seeks grant for airport hangars

By Russell Hood The Webster Progress-Times

The city is applying for a grant that would cover nearly the entire cost of constructing hangars at the Eupora Airport.

John Freeman of Calvert-Spradling Engineers met with the Eupora Board of Aldermen about the matter on Nov. 5. He said the Federal Aviation Administration would fund 95 percent of the project, with the Mississippi Department of Transportation and the city paying 2½ percent each.

Freeman recommended that two hangars be built on the left side of the airport apron if the grant is awarded, and said additional hangars could be built later if needed.

The city’s estimated match would be around $8,275. The city has a CD set aside from the cutting of airport timber for such grant matches and Mayor Tommy Lott said he has a commitment toward a donation for the project.

The board authorized Calvert-Spradling to make pre-application to the FAA for the grant, and the mayor and clerk to sign all necessary documents. Freeman said the pre-application will allocate funds on the federal level but will not commit the city to any payment until it signs a contract.

Personnel Action Following an executive session to discuss personnel, the board approved these motions:

• to increase Street Department worker Randy Dees’ pay $1 an hour since his probation period is complete. • to assign all duties of the court clerk to Milinda Norwood, Police Department administrative assistant and then-deputy court clerk, and increase her pay $1.50 an hour. City Clerk Lesa Hardin, who has resigned, had served as court clerk. • to hire Tanisha Payton after declaring an opening and need for a part-time person in the Water Department. There are no set hours at this time and she will come when needed.

Other Business In other business, the city board voted to: • apply to the Mississippi Rural Water Association to participate in its member mutual aid agreement. • accept a $4,000 police Justice Assistance Grant to apply to police personnel salaries and overtime. • order a new cutter/ditcher for the Street Department at state contract price up to $11,000. That total includes all costs and freight to return the old cutter/ditcher from the company where it been taken for rebuilding. • revise the personnel manual to authorize employees to donate leave time to another employee.

The board tabled items concerning the Whites Creek dam property survey, a grant from the Tennessee Valley Authority to replace all light fixtures in City Hall, and possibly the fire station and Ansell Hawkeye building, with a 70/30 match; the appointment of three election commissioners; a Community Development Block Grant survey; and repairs and tire quotes for a fire truck.

Special Meeting The board also had a special called meeting Monday, which included action on a Water Department item tabled from Oct. 26 and Nov. 5.

Upon the recommendation of Water/Wastewater Director Benny Neal, the board voted to advertise for bids to cover the LaGrange and Bellefontaine water systems with the necessary number of automated (radio-read) water meters, including a laptop and software. Bids will be opened Dec. 3.

After meeting in executive session to discuss personnel, aldermen voted to give deputy clerks Gail Newton and Jenny Hatcher raises because of their additional work in Hardin’s absence. Ricky Newton (Ward 3), who is Newton’s brother-in-law, abstained.

Hardin, who submitted her resignation Oct. 3, is taking previously planned medical leave and vacation time through Dec. 31. The board voted Oct. 30 to promote Newton to city clerk effective Jan. 1.

During the Nov. 5 meeting, the mayor presented Hardin with a plaque for 14 years of service as city clerk.