City Commission approves airport five-year plan, change in election schedule

During their first meeting of 2016, the Fort Scott City Commission approved the area airport’s five-year plan, including a variety of projects to be completed from 2017 to 2021.

1-7 City Commission

Airport Manager Kenny Howard presented the capital improvement plan to the commission, which will then be submitted in order to receive federal grants to help cover the costs. Projects included replacing runway and taxiway edge lighting systems, land acquisition and runway extension.

Howard said the Federal Aviation Administration scores projects and  distributes funding based on those scores. If they do not receive as much funding as they would like, they will focus on projects they consider a priority and postpone others.

The total cost of the projects will likely reach more than $2 million, with about 10 percent of the fees being paid for locally.

The commission also agreed to a change in local election schedules after a recent decision by the state requires elections to be held during the November elections instead of the more common spring election, beginning during the November 2017 election.

While having a spring election meant the city had to pay extra for the separate ballots, city attorney Bob Farmer said most local government entities chose that schedule because it kept the local elections from being overlooked during November elections.

“Most of the counties felt that it was worthwhile because of the importance of the election,” Farmer said of discussions he participated in on the topic. “What we had worked fine, but a lot of things are being driven by pure economics now.”

Mayor Cindy Bartelsmeyer said she heard similar discussions during meetings she attended during the previous summer, and she heard many municipalities speak against the change, which will be applied to school boards as well.

Farmer said the state considered making the elections partisan, but decided against that change.

The current elected officials will continue in office through the November 2017 election, with new terms beginning in January of 2018. Lengths of terms and how many are elected at a time will remain the same after that point.

The commission approved the change with a 4-1 vote, with member Lucas Cosens voting against it.

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