MENOMINEE — The Twin County Airport's general utility license is no longer at risk, as safety violations have recently been rectified. 

At the County Board's Monday meeting at the Menominee County Courthouse, Commissioner Larry Schei gave the board an update on the airport, including safety concerns that had resulted in a failed Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspection back in September.

This past summer, despite raising Precision Approach Path Indicator’s at the airport (that indicate an angle of descent) from three degrees to four degrees to make sure planes could clear the trees, the trees remained an issue, according to FAA guidelines. This resulted in a failed FAA inspection with the airport temporarily losing their general utility license. The airport did have 60 days, however, on a provisional license to address the concerns.

"The trees have all been trimmed down," Schei said.

Surveying was done at the airport and the angles were checked for approach on the runway, Schei said. Trees were verified to be at the proper height and a letter was sent to the aeronautics division of the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT-AERO).

"MDOT-AERO accepted it as fixing the problem and they decided not to come here to inspect it — they took the word of the surveyor," Schei said. "So our general utility license is intact; it was never in jeopardy."

Schei also outlined the plan for keeping momentum going at the airport: An advertisement request has been sent to MDOT for its approval for a consultant, which needs to be renewed every five years. Once that is done, the next step is consultants can start addressing the airport layout plan, which has to be approved by the County Board. Schei said the plan is to start that as soon as the consultant is approved.

Part of that plan is meeting the specifications of the state, he said. This has to be done no later than April. In April, the next step is filing for a block grant for the runway resurfacing and the projects going forward for the next five years.

There is $150,000 set aside in a state escrow account that's been held ever since Marinette pulled out of the airport, Schei said, but Menominee couldn't access the funds because they hadn't been granted the sponsorship approval for the airport. That money has to be used up for the runway resurfacing grant by Sept. 30 of next year, so they need to stay on schedule, Schei said. 

Commissioners also recommended to move forward with a letter temporarily appointing Sheriff Kenny Marks to enforce ordinances, rules and leases at the airport.