CLARKSVILLE — Pending Capital Budget projects in Clinton County were the occasion for business and public leaders to assemble here for a press conference at the Clinton-Warren Joint Fire District facility.
Ohio’s introduced Capital Improvements Budget Bill shows $6.04 million for projects in the county, including $3 million for Wilmington Air Park aviation-related uses.
During public remarks at the Friday gathering, Air Transport Services Group (ATSG) President and CEO Joe Hete said, “Our latest customer that we signed up with, Amazon, we hope to continue the operation here in Wilmington. They do have other choices, but I think when they see the kind of responses we get out of our legislators, I think that speaks volumes to them about what they can expect in terms of additional support going forward.”
Speaker of the Ohio House Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) said the Clinton County area cannot thank the Dayton Development Coalition (DDC) enough for its advocacy of the Wilmington Air Park.
“The Dayton Development Coalition made the Wilmington Air Park their number one [ranked] project. It’s because of their effort we were able to establish $3 million for the air park,” said Rosenberger.
DDC President and CEO Jeff Hoagland later said the organization views the air park as having “lots of potential.” His group ranked air park aviation infrastructure improvements as the first priority “throughout the region,” and offered it to state officials for Capital Budget consideration.
But Hoagland said the recommendation alone is “not a guarantee” to get included for Capital Budget funding, and that state lawmakers and the governor’s office are the real decision-makers.
In a DDC questionnaire in which the Clinton County Port Authority requested project funding, the Port stated, “The federal government has programs to help fund the purchase of airport equipment for airports in the national aviation program. As of now, the FAA has determined the Wilmington Air Park does not meet the criteria and is not eligible for those funds.”
State Sen. Bob Peterson (R-Sabina) co-hosted the news conference. He said when good projects are brought to legislators’ attention, it’s easy to promote them in Columbus.
Capital appropriations, unlike operating appropriations, require a 90-day delay before they are effective.
Ohio Office of Budget and Management Director Timothy Keen stated in testimony before the Senate Finance Committee on April 12, “In order to ensure that appropriations contained in this bill become effective as early as possible in the 2017-2018 capital biennium, the bill would need to be signed into law as soon as is practical.”
Keen was testifying in support of the Capital Budget (Senate Bill 310) which, he said, “presents Governor Kasich’s recommended capital improvements budget for fiscal years 2017 and 2018.”
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768 or on Twitter @GHuffenberger.