Council Rejects Airport Board

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There will not be another airport board.

The town council voted 4-3 to reject a proposal to re-establish the board at its Dec. 12 meeting.

The recommendation for a new board came from an informal committee organized by Councilor Robert Henley at the request of Mayor Ken Murphy.

Henley asked Gary Spragins, Jon Barber, Tom Butler and John Varljen to participate.

The group met Nov. 18, with Councilors Henley, Dick Wolfe and Vice Mayor Barbara Brewer attending, along with Town Manager Fred Carpenter and Airport Manager Ted Anderson.

The committee submitted the following recommendation to the council, “It was the general consensus that the Airport Advisory Board should be reinstated ... under the following conditions:

“1. The board should be composed of members with broad qualifications of community economic development, expertise in business affairs, and aviation knowledge.

“2. The board should meet quarterly, for the first year, with special meetings on an as-needed basis, to decrease administrative costs.

“3. The board should be structured in an advisory capacity, in lieu of a management role, with the airport manager presiding over the agenda.”

The recommendations were made following an informal survey by the committee of airports similar in size to Payson. Barber said he made most of the calls and prepared the report for the council.

According to the report:

“We contacted nine airports in Arizona ... Seven of the nine have boards that answer to councils, one answers to the airport manager and one had no board ... The boards are charged with long-range planning ... encouraging business development and growth, and promotion. They review rental agreements (it was pointed out that, according to state law, leases have to be let out for competitive bid; hangar and tie-down agreements should be called rentals), fees and grants. They review airport operations, rules and layout ... Contact was also made with FAA in regards to advisory boards ... It is not a regulation that a board be created, but it is policy. This is also true of ADOT.”

Discussing the proposal at the council meeting, Wolfe said, “The make-up of the committee troubled me. I was disturbed it was all pilots. The airport functions very well without a board.”

Brewer said ADOT’s airport people said in a conference, an airport the size of Payson’s doesn’t need a board if it has a manager.

“(Anderson has) done an outstanding job and moved toward making it self-sufficient more than (anyone) before,” Brewer said.

Henley is a proponent of an airport advisory board.

“It is a technical area governed by the federal government and this group can help. I view it as similar to the building advisory board and the parks and recreation board,” he said.

The mayor favored a board in order to have residents’ input.

Councilors Dick Reese and Judy Buettner were opposed.

“I attended many airport board meetings and never saw cooperation, only confrontation,” Buettner said.

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