- Special Sections
- Public Notices
FRIES — Originally in favor of the proposed realignment of the Twin County Regional Airport Commission, the Town of Fries voted Nov. 4 to oppose the change.
The commission has requested that its membership be changed from six localities, to only the “big three” members — Galax, Carroll and Grayson.
During council's meeting Nov. 4, Member Nancy Hawks said “there are too many unanswered questions.”
Council Member Frankie Fortner first approached the council two months ago about the airport proposal, noting that if the voting rights were the sole reason to eliminate the smaller towns, then that was not a good enough reason.
Fortner explained that if representatives from Carroll and Grayson counties, along with the two voting members from the City of Galax, agreed on something, they already would have the majority vote over the three smaller localities.
Four of the six localities have passed the resolution in support of the change — Carroll, Galax, Grayson and Hillsville — while Fries has decided to pass a resolution next month in opposition.
The Town of Independence has yet to pass a resolution, but appear to be in agreement to do so if — and only if — there is a stipulation that all current members of the commission be removed and all new members appointed, possibly with dated terms.
As for Fries, Fortner said he understands Independence's frustration, because both small towns are in the same boat.
“I think Independence's beef is all the money they have put in,” he said. “Fries is in the same boat. If we had the revenue, we would be paying.”
In tough economic times, the money for the airport is simply not there in Fries without some form of revenue coming in from airport use to help offset the costs.
Council Member Carolyn Jones added that it was not a good idea to simply “give away” the position on the board because the town doesn't know when it might need the airport later.
Mayor Mike Spears said he had no problem opposing the change, but council needed to find a new representative from the town.
“I don't go,” he told council. “It was a waste of time and I provided no input.”
Spears said he was unfamiliar with most of what was going on, and the town needed someone with knowledge about the airport and its governing policies to fully understand decisions that were being made.
Council opted to table a decision until next month, when they are expected to pass a resolution in opposition.
Del. Bill Carrico (R-Fries) originally wanted agreement from the localities by Nov. 1 so he could begin paperwork to have the bill introduced at the next General Assembly session.
Independence meets today, Wednesday, and could take action then.