An economic development project moved forward with a vote from the Dale County Commission at the meeting Jan. 28.
The commission unanimously approved an economic development incentive request to give $50,000 of county lodging tax funds to Project Trident.
Trident Aircraft is a national flight school that currently is operating a branch at the Ozark-Blackwell Field Airport in Ozark.
Trident currently has up to six aircraft at the Ozark airport “that are continuously flying,” said Ozark-Dale County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Veronica Crock. “They provide flight training primarily for helicopter pilots who want to transition into commercial aviation. There is a desperate need for that.”
Crock said Trident currently has some nine employees and—due to demand for their service—plans to increase that number to 20.
The company was first located in the business incubator building because there was no room at the airport, Crock said. “We have since been able to locate them into a building at the airport but there is no hangar space available with the building.”
Crock said that Trident’s expansion includes the need for an additional T-Hangar which is the purpose of the incentive request.
The total project budget is about $600,000 with the city of Ozark paying $300,000, Crock said. An Alabama Department of Transportation Grant for $250,000 has been awarded for the project and
the $50,000 from the commission will provide the final funding, she said.
In unrelated business, the commission voted to approve the fourth quarter distribution of emergency medical service funds generated by a $5 county wide tag tax enacted in January 2019 earmarked for emergency medical services providers in the county.
Ozark, Daleville, Level Plains and Clayhatchee have been included in the quarterly distributions but disagreement among the municipalities in the south end of the county over who is their EMS provider has caused delays in some of the distributions there.
At the Sept. 24, 2019 commission meeting, the commissioners voted by majority to appoint the Echo EMS to provide EMS services to the towns of Napier Field, Grimes, Pinckard, Newton, Midland City and the unserved areas of south Dale County in accordance with the original legislation allowing such a move in the event that adequate EMS services are not available.
The Sept. 24 resolution also allows entities to apply to the commission for tag tax funds after providing documented evidence of providing EMS services for at least 60 days.
South Dale EMS, comprised of Midland City, Newton and Napier Field, filed a petition for funds which was unanimously approved at the Jan. 14 meeting.
At the Jan. 28 meeting, fund payment for the final quarter of 2019 was approved by the commission. Commissioner Frankie Wilson, who also serves as the chairman of the Ozark-Dale County E911 board, commended Midland City, South Dale and Echo EMS providers for working to provide emergency medical transport while the EMS providers were getting details finalized. “Now we can move forward,” he said, seconding Commissioner Charles “Chic” Gary’s motion to make the payment.
The next meeting of the Dale County Commission is Feb. 11 at the Dale County Government Building in Ozark. A work session begins at 10 a.m. and is followed immediately by a voting meeting. Both meetings are open to the public.