After reviewing the credentials of two engineering firms, the Clarksdale-Coahoma County Airport Board chose to retain the services of Neel-Schaffer as its engineering firm.
Board Chairman David Huggins, who did not participate in the selection process due to a conflict of interest, said: “Since Neel-Schaffer has been our engineering firm for over 20 years, I think everyone understands why our board made this decision. They are so familiar with Fletcher Field and everything.”
Garver Engineering, like Neel-Schaffer based out of Southaven, was the only other candidate in the bidding.
Huggins has a son who works for Neel-Schaffer in the New Orleans region.
There is no limit on the length of the contract, although Huggins says the Federal Aviation Administration asks airports to consider bidding contracts out “every four or five years.” He says the Clarksdale airport has not done that recently.
Susanna Cook, a principal at Garver Engineering, once worked for Neel-Schaffer and was familiar with the Fletcher Field operation, according to Huggins.
In other business at the Monday, April 15 meeting, the board:
* Discussed repairing the roof of the hangar on the south end of Fletcher Field.
The FAA has mandated that no work can be paid for work on anything at the south end of the field, but the board sees a need for the repair so it is seeking a multi-modal grant from the Mississippi Department of Transportation to fund the work.
“That type of grant is a 99 percent payback loan, meaning the board will only be responsible for paying for paying one percent of the amount of the loan,” Huggins said.
He said the board is requesting a grant in the neighborhood of $27,000 for the roof repair.
* Learned that the carburetor on the rental plane had to be replaced and, in the process of fixing it, mechanic Stephen Gilbert noticed the aircraft needed cleaning. Huggins requested, and the board approved, paying Gilbert $120 to perform the work.
The board also approved to pay Gilbert $200 for climbing the beacon and changing the light bulb in the structure.
* Approved the minutes of the last board meeting and the treasurer’s report, which listed $7,036.70 in bills to be paid and $19,600.24 in money received. With $80,426.94 in its main bank account, the board voted unanimously to pay the bills.
The rental plane account currently holds $23,261.09.