Steamboat Springs For the third time in eight months, the County Commissioners and the City Council agreed to move forward with forming a statutory airport authority.
This time, the two boards directed staff to look into ways it could finance the authority.
The decision came after the Yampa Valley Regional Airport Advisory Board voted against forming an authority.
Both the county and city directed their staff at the joint meeting Monday to continue looking at funding options and at forming an ad hoc committee.
Councilman Loui Antonucci said that when the time comes to ask voters to approve an airport tax, it would help to have a joint front.
"If we get united, it might send a message to the community. And then we might really have a chance to pass a tax," he said.
The tax being discussed would be a countywide one-cent sales tax and raise city sales take to nine-and-half cents.
The need for a joint front was one of the main reasons why the council felt an authority was warranted, even after City Deputy Manager Wendy DuBord said including the Steamboat Springs Airport in the authority could be detrimental to getting a tax approved.
DuBord said from the advisory meetings she attended, the message was clear the biggest funding concern was the YVRA terminal. The Steamboat Airport was close to breaking even on operating costs and the Federal Aviation Administration supported many of its capital improvements.
"That airport doesn't have huge capital demands. In every meeting I have been to, the big issue has been the (YVRA) terminal," DuBord said. "Having the (Steamboat) airport in the mix might hurt the potential for a future tax question. We're not sure how (the Steamboat Airport) helps."
Advisory board member Ulrich Salzgeber said major concerns were finding a way to fund YVRA's much-needed terminal improvements and not creating another layer of government.
Salzgeber was one of two members who voted for an authority but said the board did not see any cost savings in having both airports under one umbrella.
Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said she didn't see the terminal as the most pressing issue for an airport authority.
An authority should be a way for the airports to plan their future together and not be in competition, she said.
"Come hell or high water, we are going to be in this together," she said.
She also wanted to know why this issue was before the boards again.
In May, the city and county said they wanted an authority.
The boards voiced that opinion again in August when they supported an airport authority over a regional transportation district, which would be comprised of elected officials instead of appointed members.
The question, Stahoviak asked, is why is the issue back on the table?
"We all decided this was a good idea and we needed to move forward with this," Stahoviak said. "I need someone to explain why we made a step backwards."