Airport board talks enterprise zone

MT. VERNON – The Mt. Vernon Outland Airport Board Tuesday approved signing on to an Enterprise Zone extension proposal as read by Jefferson County Development Cooperation Director Jonathon Hallberg.

I recommend that we jump on board because this is a very useful tool for us, such as the Innovation Park initiative,” said Airport Manager Chris Collins. “If a private developer wanted to build there, then they would go into those tiers.”

As described in a letter to the board by City Manager Mary Ellen Bechtel, the Enterprise Zone program is a collaborative program with state benefits, such as machinery and equipment tax credits, utility tax credits and a sales tax waiver on building materials purchased in Illinois. It also includes local tax abatements as designed by the local governments and only on property improvements.

The current Enterprise Zone has been in existence for about 15 to 20 years,” Collins said. “The city and JCDC, the village of Dix and the village of Waltonville have put in an application to extend it. I think (they) said there were about 69 applications and they approved 40 of them and we were one of the 40.”

In other news, the board passed a motion to look into purchasing de-icing equipment and materials for airplanes.

At the end of last winter season, we lost a couple of cargo opportunities because we didn’t have (an) aircraft de-icer,” Collins said. “We do have runway de-icing capability, but we do not have aircraft de-icing capability. … It’s time to move on this, and Rich and I have been working on this project for quite a while.”

The de-icing system was quoted at about $14,000.

In addition, the board discussed an obstruction removal project.

On the smaller runway, we’ll call it the cross-way runway, the FAA has determined that we have obstructions that penetrate the visual approach to the runway,” Collins said. “We also have obstructions the FAA rules are obstructions or penetrations to the circling minimums.”

Collins said these obstructions are mostly just trees that will have to be cut down, and the rest have to do with railroad tracks and roadways adjacent to the airport.

Collins said poles with lights on them may have to be installed near the railroad tracks and the roadway in the future, something he doesn’t feel would be a big deal for the airport to handle.

Posted: Thursday, November 12, 2015 6:45 am