Council votes to postpone airport decision
A Blaine city council vote that would have determined the fate of the city’s airport was postponed this week pending the return of absent council member Bruce Wolf.
In a regular session of Blaine city council Monday, the council voted 6-0 to postpone any decision until all members were present, citing concerns brought forth by council member Charlie Hawkins.
“I think it’s totally unfair that we would even bring it up,” Hawkins said. “Everybody should be here to discuss it, not just cherry picking when someone isn’t here.”
Council member Bonnie Onyon agreed.
“It’s an extremely key vote that deserves the attention of everyone,” she said.
The resolution was presented by council member John Liebert during a January 22 meeting and would rescind the city’s moratorium on the Blaine airport master plan and prepare an ordinance to close the airport no later than December 2008. It was approved by council members 4-2.
Although council members had originally voted in October 2006 to keep and expand the airport, new information regarding the funding sources prompted members to take a second look.
The move comes after an email from Mary Vargas, the state aviation planner for the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Seattle district office to city officials, in which the FAA recommended that Blaine not proceed with its airport expansion plan but rather maintain the airport in its current operation.
In the email, Vargas stated the city had little or no chance of receiving the funds needed to upgrade the airport.
During Monday’s meeting, Liebert said he supported making a motion to adopt the ordinance and because the resolution was in its first reading, adding that Wolf could still be part of the discussion during the second reading.
Mayor Mike Myers disagreed.
“This is a far reaching issue and is something that will carry our future one way or another,” he said. “It’s a very deep issue and I think it definitely needs more discussion, more clarification and for that matter, we could even entertain a second, third or fourth reading.”
The council will examine the issue again during the next regularly scheduled meeting on February 26.