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The terminal at the Upshur County Regional Airport. / My Buckhannon file photo

Upshur County Airport likely to use $22K in American Rescue Plan funds to cover regular operations

BUCKHANNON – The Upshur County Regional Airport is set to receive $22,000 from the American Rescue Plan.

The Upshur County Commission approved the American Rescue Plan Act Airport Improvement Program project grant agreement during a special meeting Friday morning, Aug. 20.

Upshur County Administrator Carrie Wallace said the special meeting took place because the commission received the paperwork after the deadline to put it on the regularly scheduled commission meeting agenda. Those meetings are usually held at 9 a.m. every Thursday.

“The reason for this special meeting today is because Kristie (Upshur County Commission President Kristie Tenney) is required to sign a document prior to the 24th (Aug. 24), and we received it past the deadline for yesterday’s agenda,” Wallace said. “It would have been too late to sign the document on the 26th.”

Wallace said these ARP funds do not come from Upshur County’s allotted funding but are distributed to the airport independently.

“This funding does not come from Upshur County’s ARP funds; it comes from the Federal Aviation Administration’s ARP funds, through their airport grant improvement program,” Wallace said. “It’s similar to the CARES Act money they received previously for airports that did not come from the county’s CARES Act funds, but that was from the federal government directly to airports.”

She said this grant also has different rules than the county’s ARP funds.

“You’ll see they’re allowed to utilize their ARP funds differently than the county; they’re allowed to use it for debt service,” Wallace said. “The county is prohibited from using any of the funds they received for debt service, so while it is ARP funding, they have different rules.”

The grant agreement says the funds for the Airport Improvement Project grant may be used for operations; personnel; cleaning; sanitization; janitorial services combating the spread of pathogens; and/or debt service payments at the Upshur County Regional Airport.

Upshur County commissioner Sam Nolte, who is a member of the Buckhannon-Upshur Airport Authority, said he expects that the funds will be utilized to cover regular operations at the airport.

“The money will help cover operations of the airport because we’re always running on a shoestring budget,” Nolte said. “We’re happy to get whatever we can. They’ve been really good to us. They just gave us another $60,000 and we are smaller – we’ll never be Clarksburg or Morgantown – but we are probably the best small regional airport in the state, according to the gentleman at the state office, and that’s why he’s always trying to help us out.”

To learn more about the Upshur County Regional Airport, click here.

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