NEWS HEADLINES

Bridgeport City Council approves tax rate, budget; discusses airport board

By Racey Burden | Published Wednesday, September 13, 2017
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Bridgeport City Council set the tax rate and approved the budget for 2017-2018 Monday.

The tax rate will remain the same as the last two years, 63.9 cents per $100 valuation. Due to an increase in property values, the city expects to see an increase of $28,000 in revenue from homes that existed prior to 2017 and an increase of $18,700 from new buildings.

The approved budget has an estimated total revenue of $17.7 million and estimated expenditures totaling $17.6 million.

AIRPORT ADVISORY BOARD PETITION

The council also discussed a petition filed by Dean Love calling for the removal of Gaylon Rice and Butch Baker from the airport advisory board.

The petition, filed in August, alleged that Rice and Baker were in violation of six rules or restrictions of the board, including “conflict of interest,” “questionable ethics,” “term lengths,” “decisions that are not in the best interest of the airport,” “favoritism of certain people” and “non-FAA approved operations.” There were 18 signatures on the petition, but four specified “Gaylon only.”

Parks Director Ryan Nolting told the council he wouldn’t give the petition much weight. He believed Love had started the petition because he thought Rice had reported him for a code violation at the airport. Nolting said Rice did not report the violation.

“The airport advisory board has been nothing but a big help to the city of Bridgeport,” Nolting said.

Council member Jimmy Meyers wanted to dismiss the petition, saying, “The ones who are doing all the griping aren’t doing anything out there. They obviously don’t care very much because they didn’t show up [tonight].”

But councilman David Correll wanted to go through the petition since it had been signed by 18 people who claimed there were problems with the board.

City Administrator Jesica McEachern said she wasn’t certain what the claim of favoritism referred to, but said any discrepancies in term lengths came from pre-2010 practices. None of the advisory boards have term limits, she said.

The conflict of interest she said related to Butch Baker supplying concrete for the runway. McEachern said the city awarded the contract for the runway to Wise Ready Mix, who selected their own suppliers.

McEachern said non-FAA regulations referred to hangars being used as residences, but added that as far as the city was aware no one was staying in hangars past 180 days, which would make the hangars residences.

“Most of Dean Love’s complaints dated to a long time ago,” Nolting added. “And there’s nothing we can do now but move forward.”

Nolting did say the airport’s rules and regulations needed to be updated.

The council will appoint three airport board members in April 2018.

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