Clarke Supervisors Back Bond Issuance for New Airport Terminal | Winchester Star

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BERRYVILLE – The Clarke County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday passed a resolution to help Winchester Regional Airport secure funding for a construction project.

The resolution supports the Airport Authority’s request that the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Lending Program participate in the bond issuance.

Plans are for the airport’s current terminal, built in 1989 and comprising approximately 9,245 square feet, to be replaced with a new one covering approximately 16,300 square feet.

The new terminal must comply with revised Federal Aviation Administration standards. It is to be constructed approximately 100 feet south of the current facility at 491 Airport Road.

Construction was estimated at around $7.5 million. Still, the actual bids were higher than expected. The lowest bid was $10.2 million; the highest was $12.26 million.

Airport manager Nick Sabo recently told the Winchester Star that officials are likely to go ahead and award a contract in September. They reason that the wait could drive up the cost of construction even more amid inflation.

Winchester Regional Airport is officially designated to serve Clarke, Warren and Shenandoah counties as well as Winchester and Frederick counties.

Under state law, “each supporting locality must pass a resolution to approve any debt (by the airport authority) over $5 million,” said Clarke County Administrator Chris Boies.

Clarke County will not contribute its own money to the project, Boies pointed out.

On Tuesday, supervisors also transferred $285,000 from the county’s fund balance to its self-funded health insurance fund.

Basically, the fund balance is income minus expenses. It includes reserve funds.

In a memo to the Supervisors Finance Committee, Joint Administrative Services Director Brenda Bennett wrote that the extra money will provide a larger account balance for possible future claims.

“Claims that are paid from this account continue to vary significantly from month to month,” wrote Bennett, who oversees county finances. “This transfer … would help cover timing issues between premiums paid, claims processed and reimbursements received.”

Bennett could not be reached Thursday afternoon for further comment on the insurance matters.

Early last year, Clarke County began self-funding employee health insurance following a dispute between Anthem and Valley Health System.

Self-funded insurance means the county is its own insurer, using its own funds. A third-party administrator handles claims on behalf of the county.

Buckmarsh District Supervisor David Weiss, council chairman, said he believes self-funded insurance remains “the best way (for the county)” until the economy improves.

In addition, supervisors:

• Transfer of $5,000 from county savings to Barns of Rose Hill.

The money is a contribution to the non-profit arts organization’s endowment fund. It will match a contribution from the Eugene B. Casey Foundation.

• Appointed Mark Gribble to County Economic Development Advisory Committee

Gribble will serve an unexpired term ending December 31.

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