Airport Board May Be Thing Of The Past

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Proposals to abolish the Airport Advisory Board and to move public comments to the end of the agenda headline Thursday's Town Council meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. at Town Hall.

Payson Mayor Ray Schum, who initiated both proposals, said the Airport Advisory Board has been an impediment to progressive airport operation for many years.

"They've been this alternative management group that wants to find fault," the mayor said. "I think the airport should be self-supporting, but we've got to have some progressive management if that is ever going to happen."

Schum said the town subsidizes airport operations to the tune of $60,000 to $80,000 per year.

"I take great comfort in the planning and zoning board, in the parks advisory board, in the ability of those bodies to work with the council," Schum said. "If we had as much trouble with every department as we do with the Airport Advisory Board, we'd never get anything done."

While Airport Advisory Board Chairman Gordon Holm was unavailable for comment, board member Jim Buettner said he agrees with the mayor.

"I'm not really all that excited about the board," he said. "Most of the people who come to meetings have a direct interest in the airport, so it's not really a public board or a public forum."

Airport Manager Ted Anderson also believes the action is justified.

"Given the way things are now, that's probably appropriate," he said. "There are some people (on the board) who would like to keep the airport just the way it is."

Schum said his proposal to move public comments to the end of the meeting was an idea he picked at the League of Cities Conference he recently attended.

"There are entirely too many people with their own personal agendas getting up there and spouting off, and it's always the same ones," the mayor said. "They polarize the community to no advantage. I just think council meetings should be business meetings first."

Also on the agenda Thursday is a rezoning request for Payson Pines Unit 2 Subdivision to allow 22 single-family homes to be built on a 4.33-acre site formerly designated for multi-family housing. The Planning and Zoning Commission recently endorsed the change unanimously and has recommended it to the council.

Bob Flibotte, who chaired the planning and zoning meeting where the request was considered in Chairperson Ruth Craig's absence, said it was based on "the realization that times have changed.

Payson Pines was originally platted for eight eight-plexes, so it's dropping down to 22 units. That's good for the town as far as water use goes, and the reality is that you probably cannot economically build apartments that can be rented in today's market."

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