A group of St. Clair County Board members has re-submitted an ordinance calling for the board to have greater control of MidAmerica airport, in the hope it will be voted on by the full board.
The ordinance would give more control of MidAmerica St. Louis Airport in Mascoutah to the 29-member County Board instead of the county's Public Building Commission. The board granted control to the seven appointed members of the Commission in 1996, about a year prior to the airport's official opening.
County Board Chairman Mark Kern could not be reached for comment Monday. He previously opposed the proposal, based on the belief that commissioners prevent politics from hampering negotiations with business leaders.
The proposal is co-sponsored by four County Board members: Democrats Larry Stammer of Belleville and Frank Heiligenstein of Freeburg, along with Republicans Ed Cockrell of New Athens and David Tiedemann of Shiloh.
The ordinance would provide more oversight of the airport's finances and hold elected officials responsible for the airport's success, Cockrell said.
"Taxpayers are entitled to representation on the airport from elected board members, not some unelected commission," Cockrell said. "Board members are their elected representatives. This is a democracy."
The county's budget anticipates paying the Commission more than $4 million in lease expenses related to MidAmerica airport in 2013. MidAmerica airport has a budget of more than $5.5 million.
The ordinance was previously submitted in July but never got out of committee. Per the suggestion of Kern, the proposal was sent out of the board's Judiciary Committee to be considered in the Economic Development Committee.
The Economic Development Committee did not vote on the proposal. Instead, its members followed Kern's suggestion for the committee to receive monthly updates from MidAmerica Airport Director Tim Cantwell instead of the previous quarterly updates.
Stammer disagrees with Kern about whether the ordinance should be considered in the influential Judiciary Committee.
"It is County Board members putting forth an ordinance change, and our administrative rules clearly point out that that goes to the Judiciary Committee, who must take action," Stammer said.
Stammer said he submitted the ordinance in time for it to be placed upon the agendas of the Judicial Committee and the full County Board, which meets Sept. 30. The committee meets just prior to the full board's meeting.
"We did err in presenting it too early (in July) and did not meet that 10-day period," Stammer said. "So we have done everything by the administrative rules this time. My reading of the administrative rules is, it should be presented to the Judiciary Committee, then before the County Board."
Contact reporter Daniel Kelley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 618-239-2501.