The Federal Aviation Administration is asking the Town of Payson to reimburse it for the $1.4 million Airport Road improvement project completed earlier this year.
The Airport Advisory Committee, town staff and Payson councilors will hold a meeting at 4 p.m. tonight at town hall to discuss the contents of the FAA's Oct. 19 demand letter and the options available to the town to solve this matter.
Town Manager Fred Carpenter said the results were good from a meeting held yesterday to clarify the contents of the letter. The meeting was attended by the Arizona Department of Transportation and FAA officials, Mayor Bob Edwards, town staff and representatives from local pilots groups.
"We did have a meeting and it was very positive," Carpenter said. "A consortium of local interests will be working with the FAA and ADOT to align the town's five-year capital improvement plan with FAA safety improvements for the airport."
Airport Manager Ted Anderson will provide additional details at the Airport Advisory Committee later this afternoon.
The FAA's request for repayment follows a July 22 council decision to deny two of three FAA grants which were part of a comprehensive airport development project authorized by a former administration.
Part of that plan, the letter reported, included the relocation of the adjacent Airport Road.
The FAA approved a $1.7 million grant to accomplish this goal. Although the town and ADOT paid a portion of the cost, that contribution was minimal.
To meet federal safety standards, according to the FAA, the agency required the town to move Airport Road farther away from the airport before additional compliance work could be completed.
Now, the FAA is demanding the $1.4 million cost of the road, charging that the town had neglected to live up to its part of the agreement.
As a result, the FAA said the town also lost access to nearly $300,000 left over from the original grant plus $850,000 from the FAA's tentative allocation.
"The town's cancellation of the first and third projects has given our office concern for the town's commitment to implement FAA recommended airport runway safety projects. These town projects were flagged projects that we recommend by the FAA Safety Action Team."
Those three projects included taxiway, apron and access road upgrades.