04/13/14 — Mount Olive board accepts loan from Eastern Region Trust Fund

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Mount Olive board accepts loan from Eastern Region Trust Fund

By Josh Ellerbrock
Published in News on April 13, 2014 1:50 AM

MOUNT OLIVE -- The Mount Olive Town Board accepted a $100,000 loan to the town from the county's Eastern Region Trust Fund for the airport rehabilitation project at its meeting Monday night.

The state Department of Transportation's Division of Aviation appropriated roughly $1.5 million toward the rehabilitation of the runway -- a repaving of 3,700 feet of runway along with runoff and other improvements -- after sections were deemed unsafe. As part of the grant, the town was required to provide a 10 percent match, or $168,000.

In an effort to curb the effects of the grant match on the town's operating budget, town officials asked the county for help.

As a result of that effort, the town received $100,000 from a no-interest loan approved by the county, to be repaid over a five-year term, as help with the match. The rest of the grant, or $68,000, will be paid through the town's general fund, also over a five-year period.

Most of the revenue that will go toward the grant match and loan pay-off would be earned through the airport's hangar sales and fuel farm, or fuel-selling station located at the airport. To pay back the entire match over a five-year period would require the town to pay $33,600 annually.

The first payment for the grant match has been incorporated into the 2014-15 budget, which has yet to be approved.

Last month, the town board put off the original vote to accept the loan. This month, the acceptance was approved unanimously with little comment from the board.

The town does not directly operate the Mount Olive Municipal Airport, also known as Yeager Field. Instead, it contributes $40,000 annually to the airport's operating budget and contracts out a manager who takes care of day-to-day operations.

Large projects are generally funded by the Federal Aviation Administration and the NCDOT's Division of Aviation.

If the grant match had not been approved, the $1.5 million state grant would have been returned to the state.

According to a study by N.C. State University in 2012, the Mount Olive Municipal Airport has an regional economic impact of $8 million and helps to support 60 jobs.