Last night the Tupelo City Council rejected a local match for a Federal Aviation Administration grant to be used improvements at Tupelo Regional Airport.
A recap from the Daily Journal's Emily Le Coz:
The City Council on Tuesday rejected a $1.8 million federal grant for airport improvements, saying Tupelo Regional Airport Director Josh Abramson failed to provide information about the grant in a timely manner.
Abramson, however, said he had told the council about the grant several times prior to Tuesday’s meeting, including at least once last week. He said the grant’s rejection jeopardizes a five-year capital improvement plan and puts the airport at risk of deterioration.
Council members said they had too many concerns about the plan and the airport in general to approve the grant.
This morning, authority Chairman Ty Robinson said the five-member board and the council will meet soon to hopefully resolve their differences.
"The next step is that I've asked for a work session with the council,"he said. "I want us (the airport authority) to answer all the questions that the council might have. Some of it came up last night; the council had some concerns and we want to alleviate them.
"We want to be as transparent as possible. We want to do some bridge-building. I think we have some disconnect. ... we need to reconnect."
Airport Executive Director Josh Abramson asked for a $46,000 match for the $1.8 million FAA grant, but it was voted down 5-2.
Robinson said the council was presented with the information during the airport budget request last month. Records show that meeting ws held July 10.
Last night was Robinson's second meeting to attend where the information was again presented, he said.
"To be fair to both sides, I can see where some of this might be considered last-minute," he said. "There are so many pieces that go together to maximize what we can do."
Robinson said, "this is Tupelo's airport, not the airport authority's," and added that everyone was working to do what was best for the entire city.
"So we've got some bridge-buildinng to do and to work on that disconnect," he reiterated. "I'm a positive person and I'm optimistic we can get this done."
We'll have more as it develops. Read Thursday's Daily Journal for more.