MONTROSE – Despite the Montrose County Commissioners insisting that no decision will be made outside a public arena about a possible second fixed base operator at the Montrose Regional Airport, residents are still questioning the ongoing county vetting process for a possible second FBO.
During the public comment portion of Monday’s BOCC meeting, resident Paul Bannister told the commissioners he had “severe” questions about the current airport activities.
“The last several activities seem to be aimed at destroying two existing businesses at the airport,” Bannister said. “I don’t know why but it doesn’t look good.”
After receiving requests from private businesses, according to a Nov. 22 Montrose County press release, the county released a request for proposals last August that was intended to gauge interest and to ensure that all FBO proposals meet a defined set of standards.
Since that RFP was released, with a Sept. 23 deadline to submit, a committee made up of Airport Manager Lloyd Arnold, County Manager Rick Eckert, Road and Bridge Fleet Manager Dave Laursen, and County Budget Manager Lanny Paulson have been reviewing the RFPs to make sure they meet the criteria. So far no information has been released regarding which company or companies have submitted FBO plans. The commissioners have maintained all along that the committee will report its findings to the commissioners, and that the decision as to whether or not a particular company will become a second FBO at the airport will take place in a public arena. It is unclear if and when that discussion will take place as the county has released few details.
On Monday, Bannister questioned the RFP process, stating he believes a second FBO, besides the Black Canyon Jet Center, is simply not economically viable.
“The RFP, with respect to a second FBO, from the outset is very suspicious because there is no justification for another FBO because one can barely get by.”
“How do we know that?” Commissioner Ron Henderson said, questioning Bannister’s assertion that the airport cannot support more than one FBO. “There is no need to keep going on with the issues you are talking about. We are aware of them and cognizant of them. We have people looking to make sure they meet the qualifications necessary for them to make such an offer.”
“I don't like to see backroom activities that appear to be present,” Bannister said.
Commissioner Gary Ellis reiterated that no decision has been made on a possible second FBO and if a decision is to be made, it will be made publically.
“Please don’t assume that any decision has been made with anything related to the proposal,” Ellis said. “We have not been involved in the analysis process and I would be disappointed if anyone thinks a decision has been made.”
It is unclear when the committee will be finished analyzing the FBO proposal or proposals.
Commissioners Receive Request to Organize All County Resolutions
During Monday’s call to the public portion of its meeting, the Montrose Board of County Commissioners informally agreed to further discuss the possibility of organizing all resolutions passed by the commissioners in a way that's easy for members of the public and county staff to track.
The idea was brought forth by resident Wally Smith who told the commissioners he doesn’t want the county to spend any more money than it has to, but that organizing all commissioner resolutions would make the inter-workings of the county more efficient.
“I think it’s time we really think about having an outside party go through all the resolutions back to day one and put them in order,” Smith said. “I don’t want to spend any more than we have to but I think it will save us a great deal of money.”
For instance, Smith said he’d like to find a resolution, click on it, and see what that resolution did for a road, say, back in 1932.
“I really think it would improve the workings of the county, even though it may be expensive,” he said.
Commissioners Gary Ellis and Ron Henderson indicated that they would be open to investigating how much a process would cost and what it would look like.
“Maybe we can discuss this at the next planning session to see if this can be done and how it may look,” Ellis said.
Commissioner David White was absent at that point in the meeting.
Planning, Development Numbers Continue Positive Trend
According to a report released by the Montrose County Planning and Development Department on Tuesday, the total number of building permits issued, total valuation, single family residence permits, and single family residence valuation increased during 2013, signifying a positive growth trend for the county.
“These numbers are exciting,” Planning and Development Director Steve White stated in a press release. “What’s most notable is not only the increase in permits, but 2.9 million dollars of increased valuation for properties which means more money is being spent in our community.”
A total of 179 permits were issued in 2013, compared to 162 permits in 2012, representing a 10 percent increase. The Montrose Board of County Commissioners voted to waive impact fees for 2011, 2012 and 2013 as a result of the poor economy and have continued that practice for 2014 to encourage growth.
“Not only is the permit growth something to celebrate, but I’d also like to recognize the planning and development staff Steve White, Lynda Glover and Maurice Cutler, for operating at a reduced staff level and still delivering quality customer service and positive results to our constituents,” said Montrose County Manager Rick Eckert.
The development of single-family residence permits demonstrated a growth rate of 31 percent in 2013. The number of permits issued in 2012 was 29, while 38 new houses were built in Montrose County in 2013. The single-family residence valuation experienced tremendous growth with approximately a $1.6 million increase, representing 43 percent growth from 2012.
Montrose County Hires Ken Winckler as Public Works Director
Last week, Montrose County announced the hiring of Ken Winckler as the county’s new Public Works Director. Winckler officially took over for interim director Dan Loncar in late December.
“Ken has extensive experience not only in the business side of public works operations, but also as a supervisor and manager,” said County Manager Rick Eckert in a press release last week. “He is been an excellent addition to our staff and we are excited to have him here.”
A graduate of the Oregon Institute of Technology, Winckler has worked for several municipalities across Colorado, Washington and Oregon. He most recently served as Operations Manager in Thornton, Colo., and is glad to be on the Western Slope.
“Montrose is a very welcoming county,” Winckler said. “My family and I are thrilled to be here and we are looking forward to spending more time in the community.”
Winckler is a U.S. Army veteran and also a recipient of the Bronze Star following a tour of Viet Nam. He is originally from Bismarck, N.D. Winckler now resides in Montrose with his wife Dianne.
Loncar will resume his duties as Assistant Public Works Director.