Fiscal court questions commercial air service decisions

By: Whitney Burks Email
By: Whitney Burks Email

MGN Online

MGN Online

PIKE COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - A project three years in the making took a step forward last week as contracts were approved and signed to bring commercial air service to Pike County, but now the Pike County Fiscal Court is questioning some of the decisions made in the contracts.

The Fiscal Court unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday night saying they do support commercial air service in the area but raising some questions about some of the things in the commercial air contracts.

The resolution leads by stating the court voted to request $1 million of coal severance money for the project but were left out of any discussions between the City of Pikeville, the Airport Board, and Public Charters--the company contracted for the flights.

The resolution also states the court has reservations about using Public Charters because the company does not own or operate the airplanes that would be in service.

Officials behind the contracts say while they respect the fiscal courts questions, they stand behind the decisions they have made.

"We're trying to cast a vision of hope and growth in Eastern Kentucky at a time when many people don't feel that or see that with the changes in the mining industry, but our job is to find ways to create new jobs and we believe this is an important piece of it," said Jared Arnett, President of the Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.

Judge Executive Wayne T. Rutherford released a written statement Wednesday stating the resolution speaks for itself in reiterating support for commercial air service while raising serious concerns.

Chamber officials say they do plan to discuss some of those issues with the Fiscal Court in the coming days, and they say this resolution will not delay or prevent commercial air service from coming to the area.

Officials say all plans are still in place to begin daily roundtrip service to Nashville International Airport next March.

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