Airport authority revisited

City, county will present list of pros, cons for formation

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— The Steamboat Springs City Council and the Routt County commissioners will meet today to again discuss forming an airport authority.

Since the last joint meeting, the two governments have formed a steering committee to examine the possibility of an airport authority. County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said the steering committee would present a list of pros and cons at today's meeting.

The steering committee has met twice since the Dec. 9 meeting. The group is comprised of Stahoviak, County Manager Tom Sullivan, Council President Kathy Connell, Councilwoman Nancy Kramer, City Manager Paul Hughes and three members from the Airport Advisory Committee -- Andy Wirth, Ulrich Salzgeber and Marty Kolonel.

Stahoviak said the group continues to look at funding sources that would be used for capital improvements and operating costs for transportation into the valley. The steering committee will also talk about what its next step should be.

Although this will be the fourth time in nine months the two groups have talked about an authority, Connell said the city and county are not ready to give the official go-ahead.

"We are not there yet," she said. "We need to really explore all the details."

At the Dec. 9 meeting, the city and county discussed the Airport Advisory Board's recommendation to not establish an airport authority.

Members of the advisory board said they did not see any cost savings in having both Yampa Valley Regional Airport and Steamboat Springs Airport under one umbrella.

It would also create another layer of government, members said.

At the Dec. 9 meeting, both the county and city directed their staffs to continue looking at ways an authority could be financed. Councilman Loui Antonucci told the group an authority could send a message of unity to the community and improve the chance of getting a tax passed for airport funding.

Ironically, as the two groups discuss forming an airport authority, the council will consider abolishing the failed Yampa Valley Regional Airport Authority, which formed in 1995.

In 1997, the city received a letter from County Attorney John Merrill terminating the airport authority agreement, which formally ended the airport authority.

City Clerk Julie Jordan said the city never officially approved an ordinance to remove the authority from the municipal code. Jordan stressed the action was just a housekeeping item.

The city and county will also talk about forming a multijurisdictional housing authority and potential 2003 election ballot questions.

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