A few language issues are the only things left to address before New Garden Township officially takes over its airport once and for all.
The board ultimately decided on Monday evening to accept the assignment and assumption agreement for the New Garden Airport on Newark Road as based on the original draft.
However, township solicitor George Brutscher will first review the document and clarify the language further.
Given the narrow time left for execution of the nearly $2.2 million grant agreement through the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Capital Budget Grant, however, Brutscher did recommend that the board approve the grant agreement so it could be filed in a timely manner.
"If there's a glitch or a problem [with the grant paperwork], and it's too close to the cut-off, then we're sunk," Brutscher said. "And we'll get no money this year." Brutscher later added, "Cleaning up a few details should not hold up the grant."
Brutscher told the board several times that the assignment and assumption agreement was fine overall and that he wasn't recommending they not accept the agreement.
"There are a number of things that I would like to see clarified before I do recommend signing off on the agreement," Brutscher said.
Brutscher also said that there were many responsibilities to go with controlling the airport and that the board should be well aware of what those obligations are.
Township Manager Carmen Raddi said that the only significant continuing obligation within the agreement is that the township must maintain the property as an airport.
"Essentially, we're bound to keep it as an airport," Raddi said.
Board member Bob Norris later asked Brutscher if there was anything within the contract that could possibly prevent the township from sealing the deal. Brutscher said that he only wanted to make sure everything was legally sound.
"Mr. Brutscher's concerns are very limited but very valid," said Board Chairman Steve Allaband.
Brutscher referred to some of the terminology in the agreement and said he wanted to clearly define those terms. In particular, Brutscher mentioned "fixtures," "buildings" and "hangars" as items he was confused about.
"What is a 'fixture?'" Brutscher asked rhetorically. "I consider the buildings to be a part of the real estate and they don't even mention 'buildings,' but they do mention the hangars."
Brutscher said that he's poured over the various documents several times and that he was mostly concerned that the project gets the proper administration, with what he said were "tons and tons" of obligations.
"I think it's a good idea," Brutscher said of the arrangement. "It's going to take a lot of effort on somebody's part ... but once we go into settlement on this, we can't turn our back on it."
Brutscher also said he would recommend that one or two supervisors act as point men on the day-to-day aspects of running the airport.
Brutscher had pointed out several times that there were various bookkeeping, accounting and other general airport-specific management issues that likely would require professional assistance to manage properly.
Hiring a consultant who would report back to the supervisor in charge on a legal basis, Brutscher said, is something the board should consider.
"It's going to need continuous attention," Brutscher said.