By Kelley Atherton
Triplicate staff writer
CRESCENT CITY The Border Coast Regional Airport Authority is still in limbo after signing the Joint Powers Agreement on Oct. 4.
On Thursday, the Authority had its first meeting since signing the Agreement to discuss its governance role over the Jack McNamara Field Airport. The meeting was a special joint session of the Board of Supervisors and Border Coast Regional Airport Authority to fine-tune the specific duties of the Authority.
The Authority consists of Del Norte County, Crescent City and the Elk Valley Rancheria. The Board of Directors for the Authority consists of three county supervisors, David Finigan, Mike Sullivan and Gerry Hemmingsen, Chairperson for Elk Valley Rancheria Dale A. Miller and City Councilperson Kelly Schellong.
Finigan and Miller were elected chair and vice-chair of the Authority. The Board members and Airport Manager Jim Bernard discussed an official name for the group, but it was undecided whether Crescent City should be in the title or not because it might be confusing for outsiders either way.
Currently, only Del Norte legislative bodies inhabit the Authority, but invitations have been sent to Curry County, Brookings, Gold Beach Ore., the Yurok Tribe and Smith River Rancheria.
Finigan delegated the task of creating suggestions for a new name to the Airport Advisory Committee and Schellong. He also asked the committee to help determine the Authority's role and create a membership list and what their interests for the airport are to discuss at the next meeting.
Finigan clarified that the Authority does not govern the committee and wants the two entities to work together. He said the committee holds a level of expertise that the Board members do not have about issues such as commercial development and land use.
Attorney Robert Black said Bernard will take direction from the Authority, but the county will continue to fund the airport's operations. However, now the revenues from the airport will go to an enterprise fund through the county that will be given to the Authority, who put it back into the airport. Bernard said for tax purposes the money needs to go into the enterprise fund. Finigan requested that Bernard bring a budget to the next meeting for the Board to discuss.
Bernard told the Board about future plans for the airport including a five-year and 15-year plan in the works, plans the Authority will now be looking at. The airport has recently completed repainting and resealing the runways.
Plans for a new 20,000 square-foot terminal have stalled as an Environmental Impact Review (EIR) is conducted. It should be able available for public comment next month. Bernard also said passenger load is up 12 to 13 percent, about 1,100 to 1,200 people, for 2007. Currently, Bernard said the airport is keeping up with safety regulations and trying to set up Wi-Fi, but not doing any major developments.
Authority meetings are the first Thursday of each month at 2 p.m. at 981 H Street in the Board of Supervisors chambers (room 100).