Expanding a runway so that the Chillicothe Municipal Airport can accommodate corporate jets has been a long journey, but the city is nearing the final pre-construction stages with the passage of two ordinances Monday evening. One ordinance related to a state block grant agreement and the other involved an airport consulting agreement with a master plan update and airport layout plan. The airport improvement program includes constructing a 5,000-foot concrete runway. This has been in the works since 2000 and the city just last month acquired the last of seven properties necessary for the expansion. On Monday, city council members authorized the mayor to enter into an agreement with the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission in regard to a state block grant agreement for the airport improvement program and all acts necessary to carry out the terms of the agreement. The portion of the grant is for $40,384, with a local match of $4,487. The council also authorized the mayor to enter into an agreement with H.W. Lochner, Inc., to provide professional services in regard to an aviation project consultant agreement. The city has utilized this firm for many years. “A little bit of history is being made,” Mayor Chuck Haney said during the council meeting. The airport expansion project has been 90 percent funded through the federal and state governments, with a 10 percent local match. The airport-related issues were the main topics of discussion for the council during the regular meeting. Prior the regular meeting, the council met for a workshop to hear a presentation about the city’s routine audit and city finances as well as discuss changes to school zone signage. Conrad issued a favorable audit report regarding the city’s audit and some suggestions were made for invoice procedures. These suggestions will be reviewed and considered, according to City Auditor Theresa Kelly. The council also discussed inconsistencies regarding school zone signage around all schools. These address speed limits, no parking designation and placement of signs. The council was in general agreement to replace all the signs so that they are more uniform and consistent at each school and that they are up-to-date. The street department will provide the installation. The estimated cost of the complete project is around $4,500. City Auditor Theresa Kelly told the council members that sales tax collections for the six first months of the city’s fiscal year are up by 3.2 percent, compared to this time last year, and that she hopes to meet projections of 4 percent over what the city received last year. Mayor Chuck Haney presided over the council meeting with the full council present. City Administrator Ike Holland took part in discussions via phone, as he is attending a city administrator’s meeting out of state. Several Boy Scouts and leaders from Troop 120 attended Monday night’s meeting as part of their citizenship requirements for scouting; and three students from Meadville High School attended as part of their national government class.