By Tia Lynn Ivey managing editor
The City of Madison paid the Morgan County government a lump sum of $400,000 on Friday, Feb. 26 after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released grant funds to the city for the purpose of purchasing county land for the city’s airport expansion. Nearly two years ago, the county agreed to sell a 14-cre parcel of land on Bass Road for the project, but grant funding for the purchase had not become available until late February of this year. The land sale has been a point of contention between city and county officials in recent months, prompting the county to delay small paving projects for the city until the payment was resolved. County Commissioners grew weary of waiting for the city’s payment, especially after learning the county would be $150,000 in the red for fiscal year 2014 back in late January. City officials were disappointed in county commissioners’ reluctance to help with unrelated projects because of “circumstances outside of our control.” However, now that the payment has come through, both city and county officials are looking to move forward and resume business as usual. “We always knew the transaction was forthcoming,” said City Manager David Nunn. “The state finally released the funds so we could finalize the closing with the county, and we finally got this done. We are glad to move forward and put this all behind us with no problem whatsoever.” The county has put the $400,000 in the county’s general fund. County Manager Michael Lamar offered to review the city’s original request for help with some paving projects. “We are going to try and do the work for them,” said Lamar, who will head out to the sites requested by city on Crawford Street and the Hill Park parking lot with the County Roads and Bridges Director Greg Pennington this week.