The commissioners voted 3-2 to spend the requested $5,000 to help develop a task force and expansion plan for the Augusta Municipal Airport.

Discussion about the possibility of expansion and development around the Augusta Municipal Airport is underway.

During Tuesday’s Butler County Commission meeting, Augusta city manager Bill Keefer and Andover city administrator Sasha Stiles asked the commissioners for money to help Augusta and Andover work together to further develop the airport and surrounding area.

“The City of Andover has submitted a request in the amount of $5,000 to help put together a plan to develop a joint entity for the Augusta Airport,” said county administrator Will Johnson. “The City of Augusta has already put $40,000 into a study.”

The study looked at potential growth areas for the airport and the area around it. Both Andover and Augusta would like to see an expansion.

The two cities plan to put together a task force to help facilitate further development, and requested $5,000 from the county to help pay for legal advice on how to structure the task force.

“This will be to get legal counsel to create a partnership that would allow both communities to share in the benefits,” said Stiles.

However, Commissioners Mike Wheeler and Bruce Harris were not convinced this would be a good investment.

“I guess I don’t understand why we would be participating in this,” said Commissioner Mike Wheeler.

“It’s good for the county,” replied Commissioner Jeff Masterson.

Commissioner Dan Woydziak mentioned that around 10 years ago he was on a committee that looked at expansion in the Andover-Augusta-Rose Hill area.

“This has been kicked around for a long time,” said Woydziak. “I agree with Jeff. For $5,000, trying to facilitate growth in that area, I think it’s well worth the effort. That’s a good investment from our economic development.”

Commissioner Peggy Palmer also expressed support for the plan.

Harris expressed concern about the expense of possible utility expansion, and wasn’t sure the county should get involved. Although he thinks development is a good idea, he would like to see the cities and not the county spend money on the development planning process.

The commissioners voted 3-2 to spend the requested $5,000 to help develop a task force and expansion plan. Commissioners Masterson, Palmer and Woydziak voted in favor and Commissioners Harris and Wheeler were opposed.

In other business, the commission:

• approved the acceptance of dedications for the Nicholas McClure lot split.

• approved a request by the Charles McCall Trust to rezone 80 acres from an AG-40 zoning classification to an RR rural residential zoning classification. The motion passed 4-1 with Wheeler opposed because he did not like the way a fence disproportionately divided the property. He did not have a problem with what the owner wanted to do.

• approved the acceptance of dedications for the Charles McCall trust lot split. The motion passed 4-1 with Wheeler opposed.

• approved a request by David and Kristi Wilson for a homestead lot split with agricultural preservation overlay in order to separate an existing homestead and 10 acres from a parcel containing approximately 125 acres.

• approved renewal of Trend Micro Neat suite Virus and Trend Micro Spam prevention.

• gave approval for Farmer’s Transmission Repair to replace the 6.0 diesel engine on one of the county’s ambulances with a Jasper 6.0 liter engine.

• held a work session to discuss the quarterly investment of idle funds report.