July 16, 2013

Supervisors approve airport amendment

The Oskaloosa Herald

OSKALOOSA — The Mahaska County Board of Supervisors approved a motion Monday to amend the 28E agreement forming the South Central Regional Airport Agency to take the power of eminent domain away from the SCRAA board for land acquisition. The supervisors also approved an amendment to the motion that requires the signatures of all three forming entities in order for the motion to go into effect.

The SCRAA was formed to manage the construction of a regional airport between Oskaloosa and Pella in Mahaska County. The two cities and Mahaska County formed the SCRAA with a 28E agreement. The proposed joint Oskaloosa-Pella regional airport is a sensitive issue for many, especially landowners and farmers in the Leighton area. The supervisors' meeting room was packed Monday with people interested in the issue.

Supervisor Mark Doland drafted the motion to take the power of eminent domain away from the SCRAA board. Under his amendment, Doland said the SCRAA could still acquire land for the airport, but not use eminent domain to do it.

Supervisor Mike Vander Molen said he would support Doland's motion, but he wanted a stipulation added to the motion that it be ratified and signed by all three parties to the 28E agreement.

“It'd be a start,” Doland said. It would “show our intent.”

Vander Molen said the motion to change the 28E agreement wouldn't go far with Oskaloosa and Pella. He thought a better way would be to appoint a seventh member to the SCRAA board — a landowner representative.

Representatives of both Oskaloosa and Pella, and the SCRAA board present in the audience said they have not seen Doland's proposed amendment to the 28E agreement.

Board Chairman Greg Gordy favored working with both Oskaloosa and Pella on the matter.

“It's better to move forward in a cooperative effort,” Gordy said.

After approving Doland's motion and Vander Molen's amendment to the motion, Mahaska County officials will submit it to Oskaloosa, Pella and SCRAA officials.

In other action, the supervisors set Aug. 5 at 9 a.m. as the time for a public hearing on the sale of the County Secondary Roads shop in Leighton.

Country officials received bids and the top five were considered. The highest bid was from the city of Leighton for $11,000.

The supervisors also approved the transfer of a 2007 Ford Explorer and a 2003 Ford Crown Victoria from the Mahaska County Sheriff's Office to the Emergency Management Agency.

Herald Editor Duane Nollen can be reached by email at oskynews@oskyherald.com