In light of last week’s meeting at the airport by the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission, the Clinton Municipal Airport Commission is planning to restrict use of its meeting room.
Chairman Royce Johnson said at the airport commission’s meeting Monday night that the meeting room, which was dedicated last year, was left "trashy" and stained, and empty bottles of alcohol were visible in open trash sacks.
Johnson said Van Buren County is a dry county and according to city Ordinance 23, drinking in public at a city-owned facility is prohibited.
"They came here to enforce some kind of law, and then they break ours," he said.
Beyond the alcohol issue, Johnson was upset that the airport’s meeting room had been the site for the ARNC hearing that resulted in ordering local landowner Dan Eoff to tear down his dam.
Johnson said the airport should be used for "building the community up, not tearing down local people."
"Personally, I am upset that the mayor scheduled the Dan Eoff hearing here," Johnson said.
Johnson said he had expressed his views earlier to Clinton Mayor Roger Rorie. He said he expects Rorie to try to remove him from the airport commission.
Rorie declined in a phone interview Tuesday to speak on the record about the commission.
He did say that the room was scheduled for a dinner for the commission and the food and drink were provided by an individual, not the city.
He said he was at the dinner and he did see bottles of wine. Rorie said he was not aware of any city ordinances against serving alcohol in a city-owned building.
ANRC lawyer Deanna Ray said Tuesday that the event was not a party, but a dinner. She said it was attended by commissioners and their families, city employees, wildlife agents and others.
She said the commission would not know if there was a local ordinance concerning serving alcohol.
Kent Tester, one of Eoff’s lawyers at the ANRC hearing, attended Monday’s meeting and served Johnson with a Freedom of Information Act request for a copy of the airport’s surveillance tapes from July 16 and July 17. Johnson put the request to a vote. Commissioners voted unanimously to give a copy of the tapes to Tester.
The commission decided to review rules and regulations used by other airports for use of their meeting rooms and take it up at its next meeting.