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City hears of grant proposal, other reports

While it might be too early to know for sure, it looks as if Farmington could become home to a daily commuter air service soon.

Air Choice One, a charter airline company already operating from the Farmington Regional Airport, has begun steps to establish a daily commuter service flying between Farmington, St. Louis and Lake of the Ozarks. Part of the process would require the city filing for a federal Air 21 grant to help with the costs involved.

Word of the proposed charter service came during Thursday evening’s Farmington City Council work session. Acting City Administrator Jeff Blue told the council that while matters of this type would usually be discussed during the regular session later in the month, a grant application deadline of April 21 made it necessary to speed up the process.

The federal government currently issues a maximum of 40 of the Air 21 grants annually, with no state to receive more than four. The grants pay a large part of the initial startup costs for the first three years of establishing commuter services in less densely populated areas.

The financial match for the city under the grant program would be $35,000 per year for the three-year life span of the grant.

Blue has spoken with the SEMO Regional Planning commission about assistance with the grant application.

No tentative date has been given yet for when the service might be in operation.

In other council action, a public hearing was held on the preliminary approval for a development to be named Rock Bridge Village located near the intersection of Route H and Copenhagen Road. Developers Peak Land Development, Inc., have said the new development will feature sidewalks on each side of the streets, wide streets and attractive homes with multiple design options.

Councilman Jim Kellogg announced that a proposal had been made to a committee to fund an engineering study for a possible future Sarah Barton Murphy “relief corridor.” The new road, if built, would bypass the main portion of Farmington on the northeast side and connect U.S. 67 and Route 32. Kellogg said the committee proposed the study be put off until at least the 2006 budget year.

City officials want to hire an additional building inspector. The number of building permits, and additional duties of the inspection office, have made it necessary to add an additional employee. Blue said the job would be advertised in the paper. Pay will be based on a city scale taking into consideration any prior experience in inspections or a related field.

In an unusual move, council members voted to go into a special session and immediately adjourn into executive session following the open work session. Executive sessions can only be called to discuss private matters relating to litigation, real estate negotiations or personnel.

The council will meet next on April 18.

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