City takes no action following executive session on airport lands

The Winslow City Council entered in an executive session during its Oct. 11 meeting last week, for legal advice relating to the purchase, sale and/or lease of properties in the airport industrial park, and upon returning to regular session, took no action.

During the council member business section, Mayor Jim Boles explained what exactly was happening with the airport properties.

The Federal Aviation Administration has recently questioned land sales in the city's airport park, saying many are against FAA criteria for airpark usages. The FAA has also asked for documentation of where the money from the land sales was spent.

"I submitted a letter from the FAA to each council member," said City Administrator Jim Ferguson. "They have been very specific in terms of what they expect."

The mayor began by explaining about his trip to D.C. where he testified before a sub-committee on the old golf course property, and how after the city thought the 25-year recreational contract was up, and it could be released from its obligations, the National Parks Service said the contract was in perpetuity, meaning it would have to exchange the property for one with equal valuation, and how the situation was similar to the airport property where the Federal Aviation Association was saying the sales of the property violated their uses.

"What the FAA has come up with is just like the perpetuity," said Boles. "If you look back in the council minutes for the past 30, 40, 50 years, the land around the airport has been used for other than aviation uses. I believe the armory was built out there in the 50's. That would not meet their criteria. The rodeo grounds, the animal shelter, all of these things by their (the FAA's) definition are not airport related, therefore, really should not have been built there.

"When did they come up with this? When the armory was built, when the rodeo grounds were put there, when other things were built there, when the industrial park was being developed in late 70's, early 80's. It's no secret. I suspect every council within the last 40 years has voted on something to do with it in good faith."

The mayor added that there are some problems with the airport property, but that they were "sold in good faith and bought in good faith," and that the city was working with those who purchased property in the area.

"Mr. Allen Affeldt is facing similar issues with his project," Boles said. "He has had success with two TEA-21 projects at La Posada, but on the third, the garden project, after doing two essentially the same way, he was notified he can't do it that way."

The mayor continued, noting, "We have a disagreement. Mr. Affeldt has accused the city, who has endorsed the project from the beginning, of complaining of the way it was being done."

Boles noted that he had documentation that no one from the city had done that.

"People do things in good faith, but then out of the clear blue sky, things like in perpetuity and the airport come along," Bole said.

During the call to the public, Allen Affeldt responded to the Mayor's remarks, noting, "The mayor made some incorrect statements about the Department of Transportation and my project. I did not accuse the council; what I did was informed the council that the project administrator informed me that someone from the City of Winslow had objected to managing that project internally. I have memos to that affect."

"He was asked to divulge who said that, and he said he would rather not identify the person. I have memos to that affect. He was subsequently reassigned from the project. It's nice to get the facts straight." he continued.

"I can tell you that I have documentation that no one from the city, or no one representing the city, has made anything negative about your project," Boles responded. "In fact, the city council passed a resolution in favor of it, I have personally intervened when parties had concerns. So either we say these state officials are lying in their letters, and if you choose to believe that, that is your right."

"Then clearly some state official isn't telling the truth," Affeldt remarked.

In other action, the council:

* Approved a $6,234 payment to the Navajo County Elections Department for the Sept. 13 city special election.

* Approved the emergency purchase and payment, in the amount of $2,536.67, of a new clutch assembly for a parks department tractor.

* Continued discussion regarding awarding a bid for installation of a torch down roof system at the Council on Aging Center, until further information can be obtained.

* Continued discussion regarding the purchase and payment for a pick-up truck for the parks department, until further information can be obtained.

* Awarded the annual contract for plumbing repairs to Johnny Martinez Plumbing of Winslow.

* Awarded the annual contract for motor vehicle fuel to Winslow Fuel Company.

* Approved the purchase of equipment and labor for the Well No. 2 Rehabilitation project from Cross U Management Co., and authorized the drawdown of water reserves.

* Approved payment of $1,049.64 for legal services from Brown & Brown of Pinetop, in conjunction with city water rights.

* Approved purchase and payment of liners for the wastewater treatment plant from KYM Industries of Ashford, Ala, in the amount of $2,096.40.

* Continued a public hearing on two development agreements, one on Mike's Pike and the other on East Maple Street, until Oct. 25.

* Approved the rezoning of a portion of a parcel owned by Winslow Development Co. from commercial special development to commercial.

* Approved a lease purchase agreement with Municipal Services Group for two new patrol cars, two trucks, two mowers and a car.

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