For incoming City Council member Shoemaker to call the Airport Committee members self-serving is both an insult to this dedicated group of citizen volunteers, but also unjust and unfair. They are a diverse group (pilots, a mortgage broker, local business owners, a clergyman, council representatives, and the City Manager/Airport Manager) who spend many hours not only working toward improvement of the Williston Municipal Airport and Industrial Park, but also for economic development and job creation on behalf of Williston area residents.
The Airport Committee was set up by ordinance as an advisory board to the City Council not to the City Manager/Airport Manager. Many hours of discussion and mediation are spent with potential lease-holders and in the development of policy for the airport. The time taken in a council meeting is usually 15-20 minutes once a month as opposed to the 3-4 hours spent at the Airport Committee. No action is ever taken, no policy is ever changed; without the majority vote of the City Council. I beg to differ with Mr. Shoemaker who wrote of the Airport Committee that they are "totally bypassing the Airport Manager. He is not in the loop." This is simply not the case. The City Manager/Airport Manager is an ex-officio member of the Airport Committee and regularly contributes to the agenda.
I do agree with Mr. Shoemaker in that the City Council should demand that the City Manager/Airport Manager do his job. However, hundreds of thousands of dollars are sitting in the Florida Dept of Transportation and FAA coffers in the form of Joint Participation Agreements for projects designated for our airport that have not been brought forward due to lack of follow-through by the City Manager. No new hangars have been built by the City, even though we have a waiting list of more than 50 pilots. Spec buildings have not been constructed, even though we could bring in two businesses tomorrow. I also agree with Mr. Shoemaker that it may no longer be necessary to have the City Attorney attend all meetings on a routine basis and that his contract could be reformulated accordingly.
Debra French Jones