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Airport Future Livens Up Council Meeting

POSTED August 7, 2012 2:55 p.m.

A relatively lackluster Oakdale City Council meeting was brought to life Monday night by Councilman Mike Brennan with a high spirited discussion about the future of the Oakdale Airport.

With Katherine Morgan absent due to illness and another council seat vacant, the three-person dais grinded their way through public comments and agenda items of infrastructure funds by developers, speed limits, and lighting fees.

During discussion of the Burchell Hill, Bridle Ridge and Vineyard landscape and lighting maintenance district assessments, three citizens spoke questioning costs and breakdowns.

The districts cover maintenance, landscape, lighting, and repair costs charged to residents of those developments.

Burchell Hill resident Linda Johanson inquired about the administrative fees and the use of other resources to keep costs down.

“I have a finance degree and still can’t make sense of these numbers,” said resident Theresa Bond about the assessments in her area.

As the council moved on, Operations Manager Dee Tatum presented a proposal by Oakdale resident Robert Metz representing Time Air LLC to lease a large hangar at the airport for 20 years with a starting lease of $1000 per month. Part of the lease agreement was to establish repair and flight services at the airport.

Brennan, who chairs the city’s airport commission, said his desire was to bring in a fixed base operator (FBO) to the facility and he wanted more information on Time Air’s intention to that goal.

Tatum answered that there was nothing in the proposal requiring FBO services.

“I’m not going to give him 20 years of a lease agreement without a commitment to a(n) FBO,” said Brennan with growing passion. “We need businesses out there. He can be one, yes. But is he required to be one?”

Brennan then asked for Metz or a representative of Time Air to approach the podium.

When he learned there was no one from the company attending the meeting, a passionate Brennan exclaimed that the item should be discarded.

“If this guy can’t show up, pull this,” Brennan barked out. “It’s a waste of our time.”

Brennan then suggested that those watching on cable television should switch to the Olympics rather than watch the meeting at that point.

Tatum informed the council he agreed that the proposed agreement with Time Air would not be a “smart move.”

“My answer would be no to this,” said Tatum.

“I’m not real happy with the structure and capital improvements of the contract,” added Councilman Tom Dunlop.

None of the council motioned to have the agenda item voted upon.

On one of the last agenda items, Interim City Manager Stan Feathers updated members that public works administrative personnel and community development employees had been transferred to the city’s corporation yard as the city seeks cost savings by shutting the Hershey Visitor Center satellite offices.

Feathers said the city has four “teams” that will operate in existing facilities. The teams would consist of public works and community development, police, fire, and city hall staff.

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