Having recently approved lease renewals with Avcon Industries for use of space at the Newton City/County Airport, some potential changes were brought before the Harvey County Commission for consideration at its meeting on Tuesday.

Currently, Avcon — a custom aircraft modifications company — has a laydown facility outside of Hangar C (part of its lease) that it would like to cover. The company proposed building a 35-foot by 72-foot addition, roughly 2,500 square feet in area, to meet the storage needs Hangar C — used as a production facility — can no longer meet on its own.

"The bottom line is we've outgrown that building and need the additional room," said Avcon representative Marcus Abendroth.

Airport manager Brian Palmer noted the addition would bring no changes to the lease, as Avcon will handle all costs associated with the capital project. There is one minor change that will come with the expansion, but Palmer assured the county commission that would not affect normal operations.

"You won't be able to park an airplane in there (Hangar C), but that's not an issue for us," Palmer said.

While an airspace study will be required to be done by the Federal Aviation Administration, Palmer doesn't expect any issues and foresees a clear path to the expansion — which Abendroth noted the company is planning to start yet this fall.

Having no issues with the plans, the commission approved the Hangar C improvements.

"I hope you get it going ASAP, said county commissioner Randy Hague.

In other business, the county commission:

Received a request for RSVPs to the annual Safehope holiday gala, with all three commissioners planning to attend.
Was presented with an agenda for the employee inservice day to be held on Columbus Day, with plans to address health and wellness benefits, safety training, IT training and more.
Heard a report from the recent Center for Economic Development and Business Research economic conference on Harvey County's employment growth, population growth, industry-specific trends and more from the past decade.
Gave consensus to keep commissioner Randy Hague as voting delegate and county clerk Rick Piepho as alternate for the annual KCAMP meeting (to be held at the Kansas Association of Counties conference).
Was updated on a project to improve electric services to county buildings. While Westar noted it is ready to replace the line for the Law Enforcement Center when the county is ready, the line that serves the courthouse was also discussed when the project was initially brought up. To replace that, Westar recommended installing a new transformer box. Unsure of how the renovation study could potentially affect that, the commission was in agreement to fix the LEC line and hold off on any other improvements for the time being.
Learned that administration has formed a short list for a renovation study, holding interviews with the finalists on Monday. County Administrator Anthony Swartzendruber noted the selection panel could bring a recommendation before the commission as early as next week.
Received a quarterly report from WorkforceOne (Area I) and Workforce Alliance (Area IV) on the services provided to and utilized by Harvey County residents.
Heard about an exercise planning workshop that will be part of this week's Local Emergency Planning Committee meeting, as well as a full-scale exercise that will be coming to Harvey County focusing on disaster medical support.
Approved proposed modifications to the personnel handbook as presented.