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Council asked to waive airport fees


After passing an ordinance on June 20 requiring council approval to waive fees for airport events, council received a request for a waiver of fees for the Arlington Fly-In.

The purpose of the ordinance was to align special event permitting at the airport with the city’s process, as recommended by the state auditor and the Federal Aviation Administration.

Waivers are to be based on an event’s benefit to the city.

While council members all agreed the Fly-In benefits the city greatly, some expressed concerns about process.

Council members Mike Hobson, Debora Nelson, Marilyn Oertle and Sue Weiss all expressed desire to have input from FAA before approving a waiver.

Weiss express confidence that the FAA would be okay with it.

“I just want to be sure we follow the ordinance,” Weiss said.

The Arlington Airport Commission discussed the waiver request on June 21 and recommended that the fees for the 2016 Arlington Fly-In be waived.

Don Munson, chair of the airport commission, told council that the Fly-In helps promote airport facilities.

“We’re the only Fly-In that charges for use of the third runway,” Munson said.

Statistics from the airport commission included an estimate from Snohomish County Tourism Bureau that the Arlington Fly-In provides a $5 million benefit to the local economy.

Documents also said the Fly-In provides a 79 percent increase in the sale of fuel at the airport during the event.

Airport manager David Ryan told council that the proposal was sent to the FAA for their review, but he was not confident they would have a response by this week’s meeting, on July 5 due to the holiday.

The 2016 Arlington Fly-In opens Thursday.

Oertle said she was feeling rushed into a decision at the last minute.

Nelson asked how the $6,000 would be used.

Council was informed that the Fly-In is an all-volunteer run event and Ryan said that the funds could be used to bring big name speakers and airshow performers.

A motion to approve the waiver was included in this week’s agenda.

Other council business

Council is expected to approve a contract with the lowest bidder, T. Bailey Inc., for $54,000, to demolish the city’s Burn Road Reservoir, a 500,000 gallon steel potable water storage tank that was constructed in the mid-1960s on an unstable hillside. The reservoir was declared surplus by council in May 2014 after a public hearing.

Another contract was on the agenda to upgrade 121 city-owned street lights, funded by a Transportation Improvement Board grant from the “Relight Washington Program.”

A $79,238 grant was approved in 2015 for the replacement of 121 high pressure sodium lights to a LED light to reduce operating costs, save energy and renew dated infrastructure.

The lowest bid of $63,576 was received from Lumenal Lighting.

On its consent agenda this week, Arlington City Council was scheduled to approve accepting a state Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) Grant of $250,000 and an inter-local agreement with Snohomish County for renovations to Quake Field. The interlocal agreement with Snohomish County includes $300,000, as part of the Stilly Youth Recreation Project that evolved from the 2016 mudslide east of Oso.


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