County wants outside review of airport
County mayor has requested independent state audit of airport finances
BY MARK HICKS • THE LEAF-CHRONICLE • June 25, 2010
County officials are calling for an independent audit of the regional airport finances in the wake of an employee resigning and the City Council launching an investigation based on an internal city audit.
County Mayor Carolyn Bowers, who is a nonvoting member of the Airport Authority as is Clarksville Mayor Johnny Piper, said Thursday that she requested an independent audit of the airport to be conducted by the state’s Division of County Audits.
“If there is any wrongdoing, we have to investigate it,” she said.
She contacted the office late Thursday afternoon and was instructed to fill out a fraud form that was subsequently submitted.
The county mayor said she will make available to auditors any documentation the county may have to assist with the investigation.
The airport is jointly funded by the city and county.
Bowers said she doesn’t understand why the city would be investigating its audit finding in an executive session of the City Council, when half the airport funding comes for the county, which was excluded from the investigation.
“It should be done in a closed executive session of the Airport Authority,” she said.
Bowers said Piper called her Thursday morning to discuss the airport situation, and he told her he planned to include $1.75 million in the Airport Authority’s budget for construction of a new terminal.
She said he asked if she would bring a similar request before the County Commission. Bowers declined, saying she didn’t think the timing was appropriate since the county had just passed its 2010-2011 budget.
The county and city have obligated $625,000 each for design and construction of a new terminal.
Earlier this year, the County Commission passed a resolution committing $500,000 for the project, contingent on the Airport Authority receiving a $4 million U.S. Department of Commerce grant for construction. The City Council passed a similar measure.
The grant application was declined, so the $500,000, which was to be part of the county’s local matching funds, was never appropriated.
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