Stanly commissioners appoint new Ag-District Advisory and Airport Authority members

ALBEMARLE — Stanly County’s Voluntary Ag-District Advisory Board and Airport Authority Board each have two new members following the county commissioners’ recent meeting on August 7. 

Filling a pair of vacancies, Leon Huneycutt and Lori Ivey were both added to the Voluntary Ag-District Advisory Board for terms ending on June 30, 2026. Additionally, Commissioner Trent Hatley and Arthur Whittaker each received positions on the Airport Authority Board that last until March 31, 2027. 

Chester Lowder, chair of the VAD Advisory Board, gave a brief presentation to the county commissioners, noting that both applicants — Huneycutt and Ivey — were in full compliance with all of the requirements necessary to serve on that board. 

“I want to thank you for this opportunity to bring two individuals that the Volunteer Ag-District Board has surfaced to fill some vacancies that we have to help us in the work with the district,” Lowder said. “The board met in April of this year and unanimously agreed to support the applications of Leon Huneycutt and Lori Ivey.” 

Following the presentation, Commissioner Bill Lawhon made the motion to approve both applicants before the unanimous vote in favor took place.  

The VAD board consists of seven members appointed by the county commissioners for three-year terms who are all residents or landowners in Stanly County. 

Per board rules, at least five of the members must be actively engaged in farming, horticulture or forestry; one must be enrolled in the Voluntary Ag-District program, and one must be enrolled in the Enhanced Voluntary Ag-District program. 

The board is designed to encourage the preservation of local farmland from non-farm development in recognition of agriculture’s importance to the economic well-being of the state. 

For the Airport Authority Board appointments, Stanly County Manager Andy Lucas gave a presentation explaining that under NC Session Law 2023-28, the board has now been expanded to seven members.  

Under the new guidelines, the board can now lease property or facilities and can also contract for airport operations for terms of up to 30 years within the parameters of existing law. Five members must be at-large members from the community, while two members must also be county commissioners.  

Commissioner Hatley — a former alternate member of the Airport Authority — was unanimously voted to the board following a nomination from Lawhon. 

The nomination process for the at-large Airport Authority member soon began as Commissioner Patty Crump nominated Art Whittaker, Commissioner Brandon King nominated Steve Bradley, and Commissioner Trent Hatley nominated Jimmy Faust. 

Whittaker received three votes (Crump, Mike Barbee and Peter Asciutto) while Bradley received one (King) and Faust also garnered three (Hatley, Lawhon, Scott Efird). Due to the tie, a re-vote between Whittaker and Faust occurred where King shifted his vote over to Whittaker, giving him the 4-3 edge for the at-large Airport Authority position.  

“I just want to say we’ve had good quality people applying for these boards, and unfortunately, sometimes there’s only one slot to fill,” Asciutto said.  

“We need citizens to fill out those applications to serve on those boards,” Chairman Efird added.  

The Stanly County Board of Commissioners will hold its next regular meeting on Sept. 5 in the Gene McIntyre Meeting Room at Stanly Commons.