Chairman Damron said the one item members, prior to the meeting, requested further discussion on, concerned the voluntary buyout of property by the Regional Airport Authority (RAA). He said the 1998 General Assembly appropriated $20 million to the RAA to acquire property under its land acquisition/noise mitigation program, and in return for $20 million, the RAA is to transfer $20 million worth of property to the state to be used by the State Fair Board.
Chairman Damron said language in the budget bill directs that the $20 million appropriation is not to be released to the RAA until both the Finance Cabinet and the Capital Projects Committee are satisfied that certain established conditions have been met. He then introduced Mr. Bill Hintze, Governor’s Office for Policy and Management, and Mr. Harold Workman, Kentucky State Fair Board, to discuss the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) relating to the authorized project.
Mr. Workman introduced Mr. Jim DeLong, General Manager of the RAA; Ms. Elaine Musselman, RAA Board Member; and Mr. Burt Deutsch, Corradino Group and consultant for the airport expansion project.
Mr. Hintze said this $20 million project was not only the largest project in the Surplus Expenditure Plan, but it had one of the highest priorities as well. The budget language in House Bill 321 prohibits disbursement or utilization of the $20 million until both the Finance Cabinet and the Capital Projects Committee are satisfied that three parameters have been met. Mr. Hintze said the RAA has satisfied the Finance and Administration Cabinet. The three parameters include: 1) existing RAA audit records are to be transmitted to the Auditor of Public Accounts; 2) all costs for infrastructure development in the Innovative Housing Program, subdivision development shall be borne by the Innovative Housing Program; and 3) the RAA’s use of land purchased in the voluntary buyout program is restricted to airport-related uses or airport/fairgrounds compatible uses.
Mr. Hintze said this MOU supersedes the Ashton-Adair Agreement, which was signed four years ago by the Fair Board, the RAA, the Transportation Cabinet, and the Finance Cabinet. The Ashton-Adair agreement led to the first phase of property acquisition for the Fair Board in the Ashton-Adair neighborhood voluntary buyout program. The current program is a voluntary buyout program for the remainder of that neighborhood and for other neighborhoods affected by the noise associated with the airport expansion.
Chairman Damron said although the MOU gives the Finance Cabinet the authority to inspect the project, Finance is not required to do so. He asked how the Cabinet plans to make sure the RAA complies with the budget directives. Mr. Hintze responded that