The Payson town council narrowly approved directing the town attorney to create an ordinance that would resurrect the Airport Advisory Board.
The board was disbanded by council in 2001 because council felt they were not functioning to the benefit of Airport Manager Ted Anderson and the town.
"The were micromanaging the airport manager," Councilor Dick Wolfe said of the prior board. Wolfe, former council liaison to the board, was adamant about his negative view of bringing the board back.
"I oppose it more strongly now," Wolfe said. "The board took away a lot of the airport manager's time and he has done an excellent job without them. It would be a big step backward."
The prior board was made up mainly of pilots and former pilots, Vice Mayor Barbara Brewer said.
"The flying community wants to have total control of the airport," Brewer told the Roundup. "They want to get rid of Ted Anderson."
Mayor Ken Murphy spoke in favor of reforming the advisory board.
"We're spending millions of dollars up there and it's important to have a citizen's group," Murphy said. "There are always going to be special interests, but the board won't make the decisions -- the council will."
Councilor Judy Buettner read a list of projects that Anderson had accomplished at the airport since the board was disbanded. Buettner's husband, a member of the prior board, said discussion would go around and around and nothing was ever accomplished.
"If that board was still in effect, we'd still be talking about the projects," Buettner said. "Nothing would have been accomplished."
"They'd shoot down ideas before they ever came to the council," Wolfe said.
Councilor Dick Reese voted against reforming the board when it came before council in 2002. At that time, he said that Town Manager Fred Carpenter and the airport manager should be allowed to do their job. Reese also said the board was costing the town money.
Jim Buettner asked Reese what had changed his mind and made him in favor of the board.
"I say give it a chance," Reese said. "I'm all for more public involvement."
Several members of the public brought up their concerns about the makeup of the past board, which was primarily pilots.
"I'm concerned about the makeup of the board and who is going to be on it," Al Lyons said. "I think it should be a mix of people."
"It's an attempt to placate the pilots," Wolfe said. "The airport belongs to the community."
Both Councilors Bryan Siverson and Robert Henley said they think that some guidelines and a better mix of people on the board would help to avoid the problems of the former board.
"I do want to see things different," Siverson said. "It should consist of five members -- two pilots and three other people from the community. Appointments to the board should be approved by Ted (Anderson) and Fred (Carpenter)."
"The mayor makes the appointments," Murphy said. "But I will take input."
Council candidate and Planning and Zoning Commissioner George Barriger advocated guidelines for the board if it was reformed.
"A document should be prepared that would limit authority to dictate policy," Barriger said. "It would list the duties, responsibilities and limitations of the board members."
In a 4-3 vote, the council approved reforming the airport board.