Commission accepts airport agreement

Published 12:06 am Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Covington County Commission accepted the South Alabama Airport Authority’s proposal to enter into an agreement to refinance the airport’s debt during a special-called meeting on Wednesday.

Chairman Bill Godwin said he, along with representatives from the three entities, Andalusia Mayor Earl Johnson, Opp Mayor John Bartholomew and South Alabama Airport Authority Vice Chairman Dr. Chuck Burgess, met for two hours Monday morning to work out the agreement.

“It reassumes the restructured debt,” Godwin said. “They’re going to pay us lease payments under terms monthly and a promissory note will be executed on the airport to us.”

A promissory note is a signed document containing a written promise to pay a stated sum to a specified person or the bearer at a specified date or on demand.

“Monday morning there was a meeting between all of the parties involved,” county attorney Stacy Brooks said. “At that meeting, an agreement was hammered out. (Tuesday) afternoon, I received that proposed agreement.

“It’s an agreement that basically says what the airport is going to do in exchange for the county restructuring the bond debt,” she said.

Since the airport hasn’t taken any official action on the agreement, which Godwin said they intend to, specific details on the agreement weren’t released.

Representatives from each of the entities have been working on hashing out an agreement for weeks.

The agreement, if made official, would restructure the airport debt, including two 2006 Bonds, a 2011 PNC loan and a Covington Electric Cooperative loan. When the 2006 bonds were issued, the three government entities agreed to secure the debt.

The bonds are callable in August, and the commission and cities plan to refinance their portions of the debt separately.

In June, the entities presented a proposal to the authority, which was drawn up by Opp city attorney Rainer Cotter, which made demands including that the entities would be involved in the leasing or selling of airport property; and that the authority would grant a mortgage or similar security investment to secure the debt.

Members of the airport authority didn’t agree with some of the terms, and it was decided members of all parties would work toward a compromise.

Godwin said the cities of Andalusia and Opp will vote on the agreement next week.

It is unknown when the airport authority will execute the agreement.