By RICK HAYES firstname.lastname@example.org
---- — MT. VERNON — Mt. Vernon Airport Authority has a new tenant.
A five-year agreement was signed at Tuesday's regular monthly meeting, paving the way for the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Southern Illinois to occupy the former Red Cross office in Suite B.
"It will make our profile even better than what's it's been. We feel this is a nice arrangement which will be open to the community," expressed Ellen Becker, executive director of the agency.
Becker said the agency, which also has an office in Belleville, covers 34 counties. Its chief goal is to educate people about epilepsy seizure disorders. Two people will staff the office at the Mt. Vernon Airport.
Airport commissioners approved the tentative 2013-2014 Fiscal Year budget which shows revenues of $438,917 and expenditures of $437,417. As of April 30, 2014, the Authority is projecting to have $116,878 cash on hand.
Engineering agreements with the Illinois Department of Transportation Division of Aeronautics and Hanson Professional Services were also approved. The state and federal agreement with IDOT is for the construction of a taxiway and apron for the Innovation Park project. The total project is estimated to cost $511,600 with a 20 percent local match of $25,600. The Hanson agreement was previously overlooked for another airport ongoing project.
Airport Manager Chris Collins reported that weather has delayed the Innovation Park project. He reported the floor will be poured on Thursday, weather permitting. "When that is completed, it should go fast," Collins said. "We should start seeing something vertical after that."
IN OTHER BUSINESS:
n The Authority heard a presentation from Brian Hirshberg of Prolliance Energy to provide natural gas at a cost savings of approximately 31 percent. Hirshberg said Ameren would still be the distributor, although the Authority could lock in natural gas prices with his company at a reduced savings.
Hirshberg indicated Ameren has set a Jan. 31 deadline for customers to switch to another provider, although the locked in prices would not go into effect until May 1. Prices can be locked in for an undetermined time length.
"We're at a 10-year low on prices right now," Hirshberg said. "It depends on your risk tolerance how far you want to go out. Customers typically want to lock in winter rates, generally from November through March."
The Authority took no action on the proposal.
n A used generator with approximately 84 hours of use will be purchased from IPT Power Systems of Mt. Vernon. The 45K generator, purchased at a cost of $6,000, will be used at ARDL since the Authority is responsible for auxiliary power to the tenant.
n Collins reminded board members about the Airventure Cup race which will be held on the last weekend of this month. An open house will be held on July 27 with Eagle rides being offered and a banquet that evening. Just under 60 planes have registered for the race which will begin in Mt. Vernon and end in Wisconsin.