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Paynesville Press - August 7, 2002

Re: Paynesville Regional Airport

By Mayor Jeff Thompson

Mr. Don Pietsch
Paynesville Township Board Chair

Re: Paynesville Regional Airport

Dear Mr. Pietsch:

It has become incresingly clear that the city of Paynesville and Paynesville Township are unable to cooperate in a meaningful way with respect to the proposed development of a Paynesville Regional Airport. The actions at the last Township board meeting have made it abundantly clear that the view of the majority of the Town Board is to make proceedings regarding the regional airport as dufficult as possible. I am aware that you have personally been a supporter of the airport and I know that you have expressed frustration in recent months with the direction that this matter has taken.

The two government bodies entered into Joint Powers Agreement for the Paynesville Regional Airport Commission with the expressed purpose of coordinating the efforts of the two government bodies and acquiring an airport site and equally sharing in the costs of acquisition and development of the airport site. The township's contribution to that was subsequently changed, but the city understood that the spirit remained one of cooperating to achieve this goal. More recently it has become apparent that this is not the true goal of the township board and that, in fact a majority of the members of the township board have come to oppose in principle the airport project.

It remains a goal of the city of Paynesville to work in cooperation with the township wherever possible. However, I have come to the conclusion that with respect to the airport we are causing more friction by attempting to work together on this project, than we would by simply going our own ways.

One of your town board members, Mr. Atwood, has expressed a desire to "not be in bed with the city with respect to this project and also with respect to the ice arena."

Although I don't agree with Mr. Atwood's sentiment, I think that given the tension and opposed purposes that apparently have come to exist with respect to the airport, that it is best that our two government bodies go their own separate ways. As a result, it is my intention to call a special meeting of the city council of the city of Paynesville and to submit for the council's consideration a resolution, a copy of which is enclosed. The purpose of this resolution is to terminate and end the Joint Powers Agreement between the city of Paynesville and the Paynesville Township with regard to the regional airport. It is my hope that the town board will agree that it is not in the best interest of our two government bodies to remain as part of this process, and that the township board will agree to immediately withdraw from the Joint Powers Agreement. My proposal is that in exchange for the Township's withdrawal, the unexpended funds fo the township would be released without any further demand from the city. In exchange for that the city would be released from the township for its obligation to contribute to debt reduction on the ice arena. The city would continue to contribute to administrative costs at the ice arena at the current level, and subject to future agreement, such as other level as may be mutually agreed.

If we cannot agree to an immediate termination, then obviously the enclosed Resolution will have the effect of giving 365 days notice of intent to terminate the agreement. At the end of that 365 days the Joint Powers Agreement will then be terminated. During that 365 days both the city and the township will continue to incur expenses towards to the completeion of the airport. At the end of those 365 days we will then be forced into termination of the agreement under the terms of that agreement the city will simply end up buying out the position of the township in the end. Rather than putting both parties through that, we believe it is simpler to immediately terminate the relationship.

We hope that we will be able to continue to cooperate on other projects in the future, but we believe that it is abundantly clear that that cannot happen with regard to the airport project.

Jeff Thompson

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