Determining the best financial means to get a fixed-base operations (FBO) building constructed at the new Appalachian Regional Airport was a topic of discussion during last week’s regular Mingo County Airport Authority meeting.

Officials said the still uncompleted FBO serves both as a rest and information-gathering facility for pilots, as well as a meeting location for the MCAA.

At an earlier meeting MCAA Administrative Assistant and Mingo County Grant Coordinator Leigh Ann Ray said, depending on costs, using some of its economic development fund the Mingo County Commission has agreed to help with the construction of the FBO.

Although bid requests for the construction of the FBO were previously advertised, to date no bids have been submitted by local contractors, Ray noted.

Ray said those particular bids, which would have been for this type of new construction, were to be for $25,000 or less.

“New construction, if it’s $25,000 or more, you have to do a Class II legal ad, and so I was hoping at least one contractor would give me some sort of number to go on to know whether or not we had to go Class II,” she said.

Board member Michael Williams said that, through his research, he was able to find a suitable 30 feet by 40 feet metal building for around $28,000.

However, he said aside from the cost of having to hire someone to erect the building, a turnkey job would additionally entail a concrete foundation, as well as plumbing and electrical installation.

He said final cost for the FBO could be as much as $100,000 unless county workers could possibly do the work and save on the expense of labor.

Mingo County Commissioner and board member Greg “Hootie” Smith said the county only has two employees who could do the work and that they “stay pretty busy.”

He said with class and counseling obligations, as well as maintaining the county’s parks and picking up trash, day report individuals wouldn’t necessarily be available either for more than just a few hours a week to help with the work.

Williams reminded the board of a maintenance/storage building attached to the hangars that, with minor work and expense, could be temporarily utilized as an FBO should it the board decide to use it for this purpose.

Because the total construction costs of a permanent FBO building would likely still require much of the expense to be offset with grant funding, which he pointed out would require matching funds on the part of the county, Smith suggested that a little money be spent now to make the storage building a temporary FBO and then use the bulk of the economic development funds as the match.              

“If you spend the economic development funds on the purchase of just the building, these grant sources are not going to let you use that expense as part of the match for the total cost of the FBO,” he said.

“So what I would suggest is that we do what is necessary to use the storage building as an FBO for now, get quotes on all the concrete work and a total price on a complete job for the permanent building and use the money as matching funds.”

Following further discussion the board agreed to conduct next month’s meeting at the airport storage building and determine at that time what will be needed to transition it to a temporary FBO facility, while further plans are worked out for the permanent building.

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