Grand Junction City Council wants airport input

In a effort to create leverage with the Grand Junction Airport Authority board, city leaders are assigning the mayor to the seven-member volunteer board.

Grand Junction Mayor Tom Kenyon will replace the City Council representative on the board, Bill Pitts.

Council members also are considering replacing the board’s two other city representatives, who are members of the public appointed by the council, with council members. But the council would have to change the board’s charter to do so.

“The number one concern I’m getting is people want more city involvement in the airport,” Ken-yon said.

Tempers have flared at recent airport board meetings between general aviation tenants and airport board members over a host of issues, including gated access to noncommercial areas, the legality of board meetings,  and leasing arrangements for hangars.

Board members and airport management have maintained that decisions have been made legally over the years, but that meetings were poorly attended.

The decision to replace Pitts with Kenyon kicked off one in a series of discussions about the city budget Monday night.

No city or county money goes to run the airport.

Pitts’ presence on the board has created tension at meetings, including bickering with board member Doug Simons.

Council members are drafting a letter to the airport board to request that newly installed gates at Aviators Way and Navigators Way remain open and not cause hardship to businesses located behind the gates.

The airport has said it cannot keep the gates open because it doesn’t comply with regulations from the Transportation Security Administration.

Also, council members want to schedule a public hearing to hear more comments from people interested in issues at the airport, but said they are mostly interested in hearing solutions. Council members said they didn’t they hear from airport tenants during a recent workshop, a kind of meeting that is closed to public testimony.


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