Print City waits to name airport commission
Written by Lu Stitt   
Wednesday, 13 June 2007 12:50

The 18 people who applied to serve on the new Cottonwood Airport Commission will have to wait until at least Tuesday, June 19, to find out if they make the final cut.

The newly seated Cottonwood City Council discussed at length the issue of appointing the first seven people, especially the importance of the first tasks the commission will have on its plate, such as an airport operations manual.

With 18 applicants, City Manager Brian Mickelsen told the council the city is not used to receiving that many and that with the interest, maybe the city is long overdue in forming an airport commission.

“Being a new board, these are very important positions to get this up and running. We have a wide range of highly qualified applicants,” Mickelsen said.

Councilman Duane Kirby suggested the council discuss the applicants in executive session because he saw it as a personnel matter. However, Johnny Guthrie, the city’s attorney, said with the high interest in this matter, he felt strongly that any discussions should take place in public. Some of the other council members nodded in agreement.

“I don’t consider them employees,” he said.

A few of the applicants spoke, like John Altizer, who has an airplane and a hangar at the airport.

“I think this is probably the most important airport commission you will appoint. Most of the beginning will be technical,” Altizer said.

Bill Tinin, an officer with the Civil Air Patrol, said he sees a need for a strong community involvement with the airport.

“We stand on the threshold of a revolution in aviation and we need to be ready for it,” Dick Lucas, another applicant, said.

Margaret Austell, Carol Major and Don Thompson also spoke.

Mayor Diane Joens suggested delaying the decision until the next regular council meeting on Tuesday, June 19 “to give other applicants a chance to speak and make the selection that night in public.”

Kirby made the motion to establish an advisory committee to bring back a list of suggested candidates. The council further voted to make the composition council members, Joens and Linda Norman, and one member each of the city’s other boards and commissions.

Some grumbling from a few of the applicants who attended the meeting could be heard when the council voted 6 to 1 on both matters. Councilman Tim Elinski was the lone dissenting vote.

“I’m not crazy about the idea of forming a committee. I think we’re all intelligent enough to make our own decisions,” Elinski told his fellow council members.

The council considered two other airport issues at the June 5 meeting. They approved a resolution authorizing a grant with Arizona Department of Transportation’s Aeronautics Division for the design and construction of a perimeter road and to automate the main gate in the amount of $4,014. The gate already is completed and the gravel road is planned for Fiscal Year 2007-08.

The other resolution approved by the council is a grant agreement with ADOT Aeronautics Division to provide 2.5 percent
of the cost to buy some land near the airport in the amount of $10,107.