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Paynesville Press - May 1, 2002

Township airport representatives advise terminating agreement

By Michael Jacobson

The township's new representatives to the Paynesville Regional Airport Commission recommended to the township board that the township should terminate its joint powers agreement with the city of Paynesville and abandon the airport project.

A special meeting of the airport commission (which the Press did not attend) was held on Monday, April 22, to authorize an aerial survey of the proposed airport site west of Paynesville.

Supervisor John Atwood and township representative Ed McIntee, who both were appointed by the township to serve on the airport commission in March, complained about their treatment at the commission meeting. "We were very, very disappointed with the other members of the commission," said Atwood.

Atwood had a legal opinion from their township attorney that he wanted to discuss at the meeting. The legal opinion involves the contested fifth member of the commission, who needs to be appointed by the two city and two township representatives.

The question is when that appointment should be made. The city representatives maintain that Bert Stanley was appointed as vice chair of the commission in February, which should suffice as a year-long appointment.

Atwood's legal opinion states that the annual appointment should be done from the time the document was signed, which originally was March 27, 2000, for the township, and April 12, 2000, for the city.

"It starts the day it was consummated," said McIntee.

"We thought the fifth person should be up for election," added Atwood.

With neither side having a majority and without having a tie-breaking provision in place, if the fifth member were up for election, the commission could be deadlocked. Right now, though, the commission recognizes Stanley, giving them a 3-2 majority, which was the vote used to approve taking aerial photographs at a cost of $6,000.

McIntee said they were ignored at the meeting and denied when they asked to be on the agenda. "Why are we there?" asked McIntee. "What do we have to gain?"

"It's just going to get worse. It isn't going to get better," he said in recommending the township board terminate its joint powers agreement with the city on the airport. "We were treated like a stepchild."

Township resident Kathee Martinson attended the first airport commission meeting with Atwood and McIntee as members and she said they were forceful themselves and "threw down the first gauntlet."

The township board did not address McIntee's recommendation but indicated it would revisit the issue at its meeting on Monday, May 13, in order to see what happens at the next airport commission meeting, which is on Wednesday, May 8.

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