PADUCAH — Local government leaders are responding after the Barkley Regional Airport Authority Board of Directors decided Monday not to return money to the county and to the city.
The board was asked to return some of the local money after the airport board received surplus funding from the state for airport expenses and the new terminal project.
McCracken County Judge Executive Craig Clymer says the fiscal court supports the airport, now and in the future.
But, he says the airport received $2 million in extra funding from state grants for a sewer project for the new airport terminal. The McCracken County Fiscal Court had hoped the airport board would give that money back to McCracken County and the city of Paducah.
However, Barkley Regional Airport Executive Director Dennis Rouleau told Local 6, "The Board has a responsibility to honor the intent of that funding from the legislature."
The new airport terminal has been a major focus for local government and the airport board for the past two years.
But, funding for airport expenses has been a point of contention between county leaders and the airport board.
"First of all, we very much support and value the airport," Clymer says. "The airport is, that board is about maintaining and running the airport, so I understand that they want as much money as they can get for the airport."
However, not all local government leaders are on the same page.
Paducah Mayor George Bray says the state grant money should be used specifically as intended for airport purposes and not returned to the county and the city.
"The city appreciates our county partners, you know, trying to get some money back. But one of the things that we have been made aware of is that our legislators, the people that represent us in western Kentucky and Frankfort, designated those funds specifically for the airport and not the city and county," Bray says.
Bray hopes the expenses will be under budget.
"We're very hopeful that there's going to be some money. It's not going to be returned to us, but it's going to be money that will not be required to be used, so that's going to be advantage, that's going to be an advantage for both the city and county," Bray says.
Clymer says he's looking out for his constituents.
He wanted to use the money for other government projects, specifically the sports complex.
However, Clymer says the court will support the airport in its financial needs.
"Frankly, if the airport comes up in the next year, five years, 10 years down the road, they have financial needs, the county is going to be there for them to support them on that," Clymer says.
Rouleau was not available for an interview on Wednesday.
However, he told Local 6 that the airport was provided the funds by the legislature for airport projects only and the board is not going to deviate from that.
Below is a statement from the airport concerning Monday's decision.
Below is a copy of the interlocal agreement between the airport, the county and the city.