Airport commission nearing finalization

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— The Steamboat Springs City Council and Routt County Board of Commissioners could finalize the makeup of the Yampa Valley Airport Commission at a joint meeting today.

Recommendations have been made for each of the nine seats on the proposed commission, which will have more power than the Yampa Valley Regional Airport Advisory Board but not as much as a statutory authority.

The council and commissioners are meeting at noon to approve the recommendations.

Four recommendations were made by municipalities, one by the Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp., one by the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association and the three by an interview committee of council members and commissioners.

Dan Ellison has been recommended for the Routt County commissioner seat; John Ponikvar was selected by the Moffat County commissioners and Craig City Council to represent their area; and Hayden Mayor Chuck Grobe was selected by the Hayden Town Board. The Steamboat Springs City Council nominated Paul Strong for its seat, with Kathy Connell as an alternate.

Ski Corp. recommended Ski Corp. President Chris Diamond for its seat, while the chamber has nominated Ulrich Salzgeber, who sits on the existing advisory board.

The interview committee, comprised of commissioners Doug Monger and Dan Ellison and council members Kathy Connell and Steve Ivancie, made recommendations for three seats -- two for representatives from the aviation community and one for a Routt County community representative.

The group is recommending Marty Kolonel and Joseph McNasby as representatives from the aviation community and Michael Lassota as the community representative.

Kolonel has served on the advisory board, flies his plane frequently from Bob Adams Field and was a former member of the Civil Air Patrol.

McNasby is the president of the Northwest Colorado Aviators. He is a pilot and owns a plane for his business, MDM Group Associates. He also is involved in aviation insurance.

Lassota has been a lawyer in Northwest Colorado since 1994 and spent two winters working for Air Wisconsin and United Express at YVRA.

The proposed airport commission will make policy-setting decisions and do long-term planning for YVRA and Steamboat Springs Airport.

After two failed airport authorities in the past decade and more than a year of meetings to develop an overseeing board, the council and commissioners decided the best solution was to create a board that would be more than a recommending body, but they would not combine the airports' assets.

Under the provisions in the intergovernmental agreement, the commission would develop an annual budget for county and city approval and a long-term capital improvement plan. The commission would be accountable to the council and commissioners but supervise the YVRA's director of aviation and the city's airport manager.

-- To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229

or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com

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