CHARLESTON - Things don't look good for Mississippi County's airport.
During their regular meeting Thursday, Mississippi County commissioners agreed to drain and inactivate the airport's underground fuel tanks and to suspend the fixed-base operator contract with the SEMO Skydivers, although the matters were unrelated.
In December, the Department of Natural Resources inspected the airport's fuel tanks, according to County Clerk Junior DeLay.
"We have received notice of violations," DeLay said. Violations include not registering the tanks with DNR, no leak detection or overfill equipment, and lack of daily monitoring of the tanks. He said the county has 15 days to respond with a list of actions taken or a schedule of actions the county will take to address the violations.
DeLay said Neumayer Equipment in Jackson estimated the cost to get the tanks into compliance for the county would be about $15,950.63. The estimated cost to remove the new tanks and close them out, on the other hand, is $5,810.
Commissioners also agreed to suspend the FBO contract with the SEMO Skydivers until they provide proof of a $2 million liability insurance policy.
"They can get it if they want to pay the price," said Jim Blumenberg, presiding commissioner.
The club's insurance rates undoubtedly skyrocketed following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, commissioners agreed.
In other business during Thursday's meeting:
* Repairs on the county's prisoner transportation bus ended up costing more than initially expected.
The initial repair estimate of about $6,000 for the transmission ended up being $14,077 when it was discovered the motor had a compression problem.
Even though the bus has been repaired, Blumenberg said the county still needs to look at purchasing a new bus while keeping the present vehicle. "We still need a backup," he said.
The county has already received $190,000 this year for boarding Immigration and Naturalization Service prisoners in November, December and January.
The county was holding 58 INS prisoners as of Wednesday, according to Blumenberg. If the county can keep the average at around 42, the county would receive close to $1 million, county officials estimated.
* Commissioners will check with Delta Growers Association before passing a resolution requiring county vehicles to use fuel with ethanol as requested by the Mississippi County Farm Bureau as they are unsure of which fuel grades have the additive.
* The low bid of $700 from Simmons Nursery in Charleston for tree maintenance at the Oak Grove Cemetery was accepted.
Blumenberg said five trees need work, two of which are big oaks that need to be cut down.
* Dave Luther, off-systems construction inspector for the Missouri Department of Transportation, met with commissioners to discuss the Off-
System Bridge Replacement Program.
Four-Mile Pond Bridge, which is slated to be replaced in 2005 using Off-
System Bridge Replacement Program funds, will "probably be the only thing we have for a long time," Blumenberg said. The federal funds routed through MoDOT will cover 80 percent of the project.
Luther said Mississippi County's annual appropriation is presently $67,148.75. Appropriations for each county are based on its square feet of deficient bridges.
The county presently has no funds accumulated in the program and will be spending ahead for the Four-Mile Pond Bridge project. "It will take about a year to get out of the hole," Luther said.
The Four-Mile Pond project is apparently held up because of Conservation Department concerns about disturbing birds, according to commissioners.
"They may not be dragging their feet on that. It may just be red tape," Luther said.