Commissioners Agree to Airport Loan
September 18, 2013
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  • PORT CLINTON — Ottawa County Commissioners Jodi Regal, Jim Sass and Steve Arndt agreed in principal to loan the Erie-Ottawa International Airport up to $500,000 to pay contractors working on the airport construction projects.

    “All things are a go with the loan,” said Ottawa County Administrator Dennis Jensen.

    That loan, he said, will come from the state of Ohio’s infrastructure bank, and will fund the projects, which include new hangars, new taxiways and new utilities to serve the new buildings.

    The problem is, Jensen said, the loan isn’t complete yet.

    “State Infrastructure Bank won’t be in a position to start writing checks to contractors for another month,” he said.

    Jensen said it could take more than a week to draw up a contract and research the details. Arndt suggested he talk to Gino Monaco, administrator for the sanitary engineer’s office. The county has extended the sanitary engineer’s office many short-term construction loans over the years, Arndt said.

    “We need to proceed with this,” Sass said.

    According to Jensen, contractors working on the project have been paid some funds owed with money from the airport’s operating account.

    “The contractors have worked with the airport on extending terms,” Jensen said.

    The county loan will allow the project to move toward completion while the SIB loan process is completed. Jensen said when that happens, balances owed to contractors will be paid and the SIB will reimburse the county directly.

    While the county makes plans to keep the airport projects on track, it also plans on receiving its report card from the Ohio State Auditor’s Office. The audit, Jensen said, will be for the 2012 calender year and is due before Sept. 30.

    “The balance sheet is a snapshot of a point in time,” he said.

    Jensen said state auditors use a second-floor office at the courthouse year-round as they analyze the accounting and money management of all the county’s municipalities and governmental agencies. Jensen said he doesn’t expect any surprises when the county receives its audit results.

    “Nothing’s expected out of the ordinary,” he said. “All is well.”

    Commissioners also went into executive session to discuss issues relating to courthouse security.

    In earlier sessions, county officials discussed plans with Ottawa County Sheriff Steve Levorchick to change security arrangements at the courthouse.

    While details of those discussions remain largely undisclosed at this time, such changes are likely to include more security at the courthouse, including more deputies and the closing of one of two entrances to the Madison Street building, according to county officials.