Charlene Sims, Journal staff
Commission to look at selling or leasing airport
The Linn County Commission is seeking solutions to operating an airport that has been a drain on county finances. (Journal file photo)
MOUND CITY – With the county-owned airport southeast of Pleasanton continuing to be a financial drain, the Linn County Commission appears to be leaning toward either selling or leasing it.
On Monday, April 10, Airport Manager Jessica Hightower asked about spending more than $1,200 to replace the window air conditioner in the pilots’ building. However, commissioners decided to hold off on that until they decided what to do with the airport.
Commission Chair Danny McCullough said, “Me, personally, I’m not in favor of fixing it or putting any more money in it, into the airport right now.”
When Jessica Hightower asked what to do about the nearly full fuel tank with a broken pump, the commissioners did not talk about replacing the pump for $15,000 but instead discussed whether the tank could be emptied or whether it should be left there if someone purchased the airport.
Commissioner Jason Hightower said, “I don’t see how operating an airport is much of a service to anyone in the county. We just continue to add up more and more stuff. I think we should look at a plan to liquidate the airport.”
McCullough said that he agreed.
“I am not in favor of putting any more money there. I’m in favor of maybe trying to section it off and see what we can get off of each piece of land,” said McCullough.
And when Jessica Hightower asked the commissioners about putting the tarp on the hoop building at the airport, they discussed whether the county should try to find another place for the building or whether they should leave it there for a new buyer.
The commission did discuss what the steps were in placing the airport up for sale.
Jessica Hightower will check with the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT), which gave the grant for the airport to Linn County, to see if there are any stipulations in the grant that prevented the county from selling the airport.
County Counselor Gary Thompson will look at the procedure involved.
Jessica Hightower had said that she had received an inquiry without a bid about purchasing the 77 acres of hay ground west of the air strip. McCullough said that he knew someone who might want to purchase the nearly 18 acres on the north.
Discussion was held on how this would affect the people who had bought land at the airport and easements to their property.
Thompson said that the county did own the roads. Thompson said the road were on the plat, so they would not sell them off.
He said that he did not think the county should split anything off until they saw what the market was for the airport.
It was the consensus of the commissioners to hold off on parceling it out until they took the first steps necessary. The county could then put it up for sale as it is until commissioners could determine what a buyer might want.