SYLACAUGA – The newly-formed Sylacauga Airport Authority held its first meeting Monday, electing the former board’s president, Tommy Dobson, as chairman.
The authority also voted Wade Pruitt as vice-chairman and David Morrill as secretary. Marc Gann and Jay Mitchell round out the authority.
Being the authority’s first meeting, Dobson and company mainly discussed future funding issues for the Sylacauga Municipal Airport. The former board was given a weekly allotment from the Sylacauga general fund based on its needs, although the authority will now operate from a budget.
Currently it has no budget from which to work, and must cooperate with Mayor Doug Murphree to build a budget for future use. Dobson said he does not know when the authority will be able to create and use its own budget.
“I hope it’s convergent with the other city functions,” Dobson said. “Right now, it’s just an arm of the city like the other budgets they’re dealing with. Hopefully we’ll be in concert with them.”
One of the first projects the authority may tackle is to clean up the airport’s runway: Grass is growing through numerous cracks up and down the runway, resulting in higher insurance premiums for the authority.
The authority also approved a motion to use Old Republic Insurance Company to insure the airport facilities and officers for $1 million, costing the authority $1,575 a year.
The authority is also in works to formally draft bylaws, and is working with municipal airports in Dothan and Alexander City for guidance in that endeavor.
Now that the authority has had its first meeting, Dobson said he feels like it can get back to what it’s supposed to do: taking care of the airport. Dobson said working as an authority will help get things taken care of quicker.
“We don’t have to go through our board, to the council, to do other things,” Dobson said. “We are hoping that being able to understand what the (Federal Aviation Administration) needs, and be able to react a little quickly, that we can be in that position to look forward.”
The authority’s next meeting will take place at the airport at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 16.
Contact Zac Al-Khateeb at email@example.com.