Blogs > Northern Ohio Local Politics

Politics is big in these parts, and we’ve got it covered. John Arthur Hutchison and other staff writers will offer their inside information on the events, big news and little moments of the local political scene in Lake, Geauga and eastern Cuyahoga counties.

Friday, March 11, 2011

County may let city keep Lost Nation Airport

At least two Lake County commissioners are indicating they aren’t likely to support the county taking over the assets of Lost Nation Airport in Willoughby.

Their opinions could always change, but one reason commissioners may be leaning against acquiring the airport is because the county had sought federal funding of more than $1 million to help pay for the transaction with the city of Willoughby, which owns the facility.

However, because there is a moratorium in Congress on federal earmarks, language to provide dollars to help the county take over the airport’s assets is no longer in the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill.

In September 2006, the city of Willoughby asked commissioners to take over the airport’s assets.

Commissioners later asked the Lake County Port Authority to study the best use of the airport facility and make a recommendation to commissioners before they made a decision.

Commissioner Raymond E. Sines said without the federal dollars there just isn’t any money from the county’s general fund for the county to take over the airport.

Commissioner Robert E. Aufuldish said the city of Willoughby may want to keep the airport property now.

As the Port Authority’s study is nears conclusion, Aufuldish said the study may indicate the shorter runway would be eliminated and that would free up land for development and that would help the city of Willoughby.

There remains a possibility that funding could become available if Congress appropriated the money through other legislation. Aufuldish said even if the federal money was available to allow the county to purchase the airport without using general fund dollars, he doesn’t think the county would do so in the current economic climate.

That’s because he believes it would take general fund money to help subsidize the airport’s operations and he doesn’t believe commissioners would be willing to do that.

Commissioner Daniel P. Troy hasn’t made up his mind and will wait for the Port Authority’s recommendation to make his decision.

If the dollars did become available from the federal government to help the county take over the assets, Troy said he would want to see how the operational costs are going to be taken care of and certain conditions met.

Basically the airport would have to pay for itself.

Port Authority Member Anthony Debevc said he was quite surprised and disappointed by the commissioners’ comments prior to the study’s conclusion.

Before the study is done, the next step for the Port Authority will be to schedule a meeting with Willoughby Mayor David Anderson to gather the city’s point of view before a recommendation is made to county commissioners, said Port Authority Board Member Don Galea.

Anderson said the current lack of federal funding for the county to take over the airport doesn’t change anything from the city’s perspective. The mayor said this fact doesn’t affect Willoughby in the short term because of the federal grants that require the airport to remain open until at least 2016.


The latest filings with the Lake County Elections Board as of Thursday were: Erik Bednarcik for Mentor Council Ward 2; El Klco for North Perry mayor; Peter Wayman and Kenneth R. Gauntner for Madison Township trustee; Amy Dawson for Concord Township fiscal officer; and Rex Reigert for Madison Board of Education.


Lyndhurst Municipal Court Judge Mary Kaye Bozza is endorsed by the Cleveland Building and Construction Trades Council.

Aufuldish will host a St. Patrick’s Day celebration from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Holiday Inn Express Hotel and Suites LaMalfa in Mentor. See Kathie Aufuldish-Freshour or Ernie Koenig.

Willoughby Hills Councilman David M. Fiebig: Spring Fever party, 5 to 7 p.m. March 22 at Willoughby Hills Community Center. See Joyce Hribar Fiebig.

Realtors Political Action Committee: Silent/live auction, 5:30 p.m., March 24 at Kirtlander Party Center. See Vicki Pate.

John Arthur Hutchison’s column appears Sundays in The News-Herald. View it online at
Twitter: @newsheraldjah


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home