Steamboat Springs Routt County Commissioners experienced a moment of mild air sickness this week when they received a tentative recommendation that would establish fees for annual parking passes at Yampa Valley Regional Airport.
The county, with Airport Manager Jim Parker, has been working through a series of changes to make parking rules and regulations at the airport more formal and to extract revenue from parking.
The momentary queasiness experienced by the commissioners this week stemmed from a plan to establish a fee of $480 for an annual parking pass at the airport, but leave the fee for airline flight crews, who live in Routt County and commute to their jobs, at $60 a year, where it had previously been established. The season pass is intended to provide an answer for second-home owners in the valley, and frequent fliers who were concerned about long-term parking fees of $15 a week, which were instituted last fall.
The commissioners' objections weren't over the amount of the $480 fee for the public, but over the disparity between that number and the fee for flight crews.
"Why would we give those (airline) employees a break and others are paying more?" Commissioner Doug Monger asked. "We're discriminating against local companies like TIC by charging them more."
Parker said the $480 annual parking fee was arrived at after his staff conducted a thorough study of other mountain airports' practices. He said the authority's decision was to leave the fee for airline flight crews unchanged from previously established levels.
Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said she was leaning toward the board making a formal decision about the annual parking passes.
"I'm having a bit of confusion over why (fees for airline crews) would be different than for anyone who commutes a lot," Stahoviak said.
The survey conducted by airport bookkeeper Doris Mayhan showed that in Jackson, Wyo., the general public pays $75 a month for a parking pass and airline and concession parking passes cost $300 per year.
In Durango, the general public pays $40 per month, while airline and concession employee parking passes cost just $5 per year, per vehicle, and are billed to the employers.