County refuses city’s Jetport request
by JOYANNA WEBER, Banner Staff Writer
Jun 18, 2013 | 1975 views | 0 0 comments | 67 67 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Bradley County Commission voted “to decline financial commitment to the Cleveland Regional Jetport” as requested by the city during a voting session Monday.

Previously the Cleveland City Council had requested the county portion of personal property tax revenue on aircraft and leased hangars from the Cleveland Regional Jetport that exceeds what the county had been receiving from Hardwick Field be given back to the city.

“The city has said about 100 times that there would be no local tax money needed for the airport; they have requested that we give them some county tax monies. ... We can’t afford it,” said 6th District Commissioner Mel Griffith.

Fourth District Commissioner J. Adam Lowe was the only dissenting vote in the 11-1 tally. Lowe said he had wanted more discussion on the issue.

Eleven commissioners voted for the resolution and two were absent.

Local pilot Jerry Mazza said the new airport has many policies that make it difficult for local pilots.

“There are lot of policies by the Airport Authority that will limit the amount of revenues collected by the airport,” Mazza said. “Unfortunately, the members of the Airport Authority have a lack of aviation knowledge and expertise, and this seems to be impacting those policies. ... They have managed to alienate a lot of the local pilots.”

Requirements for construction of hangars and specific policies have led some local pilots not to build hangars at the new airport, Mazza said. He also commented that some aspects of the facility were “excessive.”

n Also during the meeting, commissioners discussed Bradley County Sheriff’s Jim Ruth health condition. During the last work session, the Commission had received a report from Chief Deputy Wayne Bird.

“There have been a lot of rumors about the sheriff going around,” chairman Louie Alford said. “I did make an effort to contact the sheriff yesterday ... we talked on the phone for about six minutes. He was at home. He was very upbeat and he felt very comfortable that he would return to work soon.”

Elkins said he felt the first report the Commission received did not have full information.

“The report by the chief deputy raised some questions of what was really going on,” Elkins said. “There was a lot of confusion.”

He said he would have liked more specific information from the Sheriff’s Office.

Seventh District Commissioner Bill Winters said he spoke with communications officer Bob Gault, who said, “it really caught them off guard even into the week, the seriousness of the situation.”

Winters said he felt Bird shared the information that was available at the time.

In his weekly column in the Cleveland Daily Banner on Sunday, Ruth described his condition as a “brain stem stroke.” The sheriff was able to return to his home and will have some follow-up visits with the facility where he did rehabilitation.

- The Commission approved sending an animal control contract request to the Cleveland City Council. The contract would be the same option as declined by the Council previously, which eliminates animal pick-up in the county. However, this time it would be for a three-year contract instead of a one-year contract.

- Resigning fire board member John Tyler was replaced with Dr. Benjamin Pérez. Seventh District Commissioner Bill Winters said Pérez was retiring as the director of Curriculum Development, Division of Adult Learning at Lee University and had been a chaplain for the Thunderbirds. Milan Blake was appointed to the Greenway Board. Lorri Moultrie was appointed as a nonvoting member of the Greenway Board.