MAYVILLE - As long as the Dunkirk airport continues operating as an airport, federal funds would not need to be repaid if the facility was sold.
Last week, the Public Facilities Committee approved a resolution granting additional funding for the replacement of airport guidance signs at the Dunkirk airport. According to George Spanos, director of Public Facilities, it is less expensive to make the required lighting changes when replacing the signs than it would be to make the required changes outright.
Originally, the project was 95 percent covered by federal funding. However, the amount of federal funding decreased to only cover 90 percent, increasing the state and local shares from 2.5 percent each to 5 percent each. Therefore, instead of costing $5,500 for the replacement of the signs, the local share increases to $14,057.
Tom DeJoe, D-Brocton, questioned Spanos as to whether the county would be obligated to repay federal funds that have been put into airport projects if the airport were sold.
Spanos explained to the committee that the airport could transfer ownership to a private entity, and not have to repay any federal funds, as long as the airport continues to operate as an airport. However, if the airport were to shut down or operate as anything but an airport, funds would have to be repaid.
"If we sell it, we don't owe the FAA or federal government any money," Committee Chairman David Himelein, R-Findley Lake, said. "If we actually close it down, then we have to repay the remaining life of those funds that we obtained from the federal government."
According to Spanos, although the Dunkirk airport is for sale, so far no interested parties have approached the county. In the meantime, the county is obligated to maintain the facility to FAA standards.