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3/2/2012 9:37:00 AM
Miami County pledges funds for Grissom Aeroplex debt if painting firm defaults

Jonathan Kleyer, Peru Tribune

Miami County Council members voted Wednesday to support a resolution amendment to pledge CEDIT funds to pay for Grissom Aeroplex Hangar 200 debt service if Dean Baldwin Painting should default.

The project has $10.3 million in funding, but the Miami County Economic Development Authority had to reject bids in October because project costs exceeded funding. It is being rebid, but MCEDA officials are also seeking an increase funding from the USDA to $7.1 million make sure the project can move forward this summer – and that meant asking the council to amend their May 2011 resolution to handle debt services in case of default, to reflect the new numbers.

The council voted 5-2 to approve the resolution amendment, with members John Donaldson and Jan Kendall voting against it.

“The bottom line is, the project budget needs to be increased,” said Jim Tidd, MCEDA executive director.

Bids came in too high in the fall because the budget was put together 18 months earlier. Prices shifted over time, and project specifications were changed to include some unexpected additions such as fire suppression work, Tidd added.

The director wanted to make sure people understood that none of this is giving money to Dean Baldwin Painting – it is money going toward the renovation of a hangar the county owns, which he called a community asset. If Dean Baldwin Painting were to default, he said the money will still have gone toward making the hangar usable after having been vacant for years.

Debt service for the USDA loan is expected to be $400,000 per year, for about 30 years. MCEDA has set aside enough to handle the first year if Dean Baldwin Painting, which has agreed to lease the hangar, should default.

Officials do not expect the aircraft painting company to default because it has been in business for about 40 years, he added.

Donaldson said he supports bringing Dean Baldwin Painting to the area, and the reason to vote against the resolution was simply due to timing. The amended resolution had not been presented until Wednesday, and he said he had some questions that he wanted to look into before making a responsible decision.

Council President Ralph Duckwall also voiced support of the project, saying he believes having the aircraft painting company in the area will bring even more business in the future.

The next step in the hangar project is opening new contractor bids to carry out renovations, Tidd said.

The bid opening will be 3:30 p.m. March 14 in the Grissom Aeroplex. MCEDA officials hope to award a bid, start construction by April, and have the hangar ready for Dean Baldwin Painting to move in by December.

“It’s all coming together,” Tidd said.

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Editor, John C. DePrez Jr.; Executive Editor, Carol Rogers; Publishers: IBRC and IAR


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