*** THERE IS AN ONLINE PETITION TO SIGN AND SHARE YOUR OPINION ON A HEBER AIRPORT EXPANSION– GO HERE TO READ THE PETITION It states that it should be decided by a vote of Heber City residents instead of only 5 people on the Heber City Council.
NEW!!! 6-15-16- Kristin Brownson, FAA Engineer for the State of Utah, was present for a Q & A with the Airport Board. Since it is quite unclear what Heber’s obligations to the FAA are, as they move forward with trying to determine whether the airport is self sustaining, they asked Kristen many questions. Wasatch Taxpayers YouTube page
Another blog post with extra Heber Airport Info Using some of the info acquired by our GRAMA requests of May 9, 2016 post below, some info was summarized about the airport hangar ownership. “Heber residents own 12% of Hangars (perhaps less), over 50% of hangars are owned by Summit County residents, 14% of the total Hangar Value is owned by one entity” See more detailed info at the above link.
6-2-16- Heber City just accepted FAA grant money for the Maverik property that will now hold the city to the FAA in perpetuity. They had 9 more days to contemplate their options, but decided to vote anyway. How is that putting the city and citizens first? The council now has undermined the very resolution they passed last month to get the congressional deligation involved to help sort out the obligations the city has to the FAA on the “in perpetuity” clause. Why would the council sabotage their own resolution and weaken the negotiating power of the city? At this point, Heber City residents should be aware of the representation they are getting from the city council to protect their interests and wishes on the airport. The vote was Yea-3 Jeff Bradshaw, Jeff Smith & Kelleen Potter. Nays-2 Heidi Franco & Ron Crittenden. The Nays were hoping to get consent from the FAA to move the runway threashhold away from the property, make it more sellable, and resell the property to someone who will not be able to build a gas station. That would also bring much needed commercial taxes to the city instead of the land sitting vacant and worthless. The city would then be able to recoup the money from the purchase and more importantly, not be tied to the FAA FOREVER. The council was unorganized (at best) on the motion that was not understood by some at first, and had to approach it 3 times to get it to pass. Councilperson Kelleen Potter was the person who was confused with the process and changed her mind during the discussion. As soon as an airport board member spoke and pressured the council on the “safety issue” which has been proven NOT to be an issue with a few cheaper remedies (than buying this expensive property and being chained to the FAA), Councilmember Potter changed her mind. She made a perplexing motion that was ineffective- to accept the grant money but to continue to “negotiate with the FAA” even though they now would have NO leverage to negotiate. A naiive concept for a city councilperson to propose. Information on the whole concept of not taking FAA money was discussed by the council- yet they had no creditable data to support their opinions on reselling the property which they purchased in HASTE (for approx $1.3 mil) last January. A HUGE decision to make for the citizens of the city when they did not make the effort to solicit professional real estate data to aid in their decision. All council people had opinions except for Jeff Smith who offered absolutely no thoughts or questions to the discussion, but voted for the FAA grant. With such a big decision to make one would hope that all council people would feel it important enough to share their thoughts and reasoning as to why they would vote to tie the city’s hands with the FAA. Mr. Smith should respect his constituents enough to weigh in on the matter and explain his votes, not to just follow another council man’s direction constantly. Watch the videos of the proceedings here: Wasatch Taxpayers YouTube page. To listen to all citizen concerns, comments and corrections of information discussed by council after the motion passed, go to the agenda item #8 here: City recording of the FULL discussion . _________________________________
5-19-16 Due to the Heber City Council passing a resolution on May 5th (below post) The regional office of the FAA (Denver office) decided to send Heber City another vague attempt at clarifying (and threatening the city?) the FAA’s position and Heber City’s obligations- FAA letter to Heber-05-19-16. Some citizens have read every FAA document so far and still can’t determine the total obligations of Heber City to the FAA concerning the airport. This letter may only confuse Heber City even more, and it does seem to threaten as well. That’s exactly why the Heber Council passed the May 5th resolution asking their congressional deligation (Rep. Chaffetz and Sen. Lee) to help get definitive answers from Washington D.C. and the Denver office’s superiors. It’s understandable that the Denver office may feel like we are going over their heads, and getting congress involved which may only shed more light on the FAA’s overreach in a small, scenic, rural Utah town. Stay tuned!!!
5-19-16 New!! We had to APPEAL a fee waiver for the remainder of the documents in the below GRAMA request on 4-13-16. The city manager and Mayor wanted to charge us approximately $300 to search for these items. 2. The all original FAA grant assurances, and all airport land purchase contracts with the FAA, for the last 15 years. 3. All meeting minutes, of the airport board and city council, where these land purchase contracts (in #2) were voted on and discussed. The Heber City Council voted 4-1 (yea- Potter, Franco, Crittenden, Smith. Nay- Jeff Bradshaw) to release the information without charging us. Listen to the City Council discuss this problem with their city manager on how they’ve been asking for months for this exact information from him. (click on agenda item #7)—> Heber City Council Meeting recording.
5-5-16 NEW!!! Heber City Council passes a resolution to not support an airport expansion! Watch the discussion here: Wasatch Taxpayers YouTube page Resolution below:
WHEREAS, the Heber City Council, as well as our Airport Advisory Board, are in the process of several actions and decisions that are affected by whether or not we, as the sponsors of the Heber Airport, are willing to expand our airport from a BII to a CII standard, (such as existing and potential FBO, SSO and hanger leases, funding needs from the airport operations and potential shortfalls needing funding loans from Heber City, etc.), and
WHEREAS, many among our citizens want us, as the sponsor, to take a position, for or against said expansion, and
WHEREAS, there are many, yet to be determined or affirmed, financial implications both from expansion to CII or remaining a BII, and
WHEREAS, we need to get final determinations of these implications (as soon as possible), in order to become better informed in our council airport decisions, as well as being able to better inform our citizens and others who are making decisions for activities at our airport,
WHEREAS, we wish to make known our present sentiments about the airport status while acknowledging the need for help in getting the financial ramifications of not approving an expansion to a CII rated airport, therefore
NOW, THEREFORE, it is hereby resolved by the Heber City Council, of Heber City, Wasatch County, Utah, the Heber City adopts Resolution No. 2016-9- A Resolution Opposing the Heber City Airport Becoming a CII Airport and Asking our Congressional Delegation and Governor for Assistance in Confirming with the FAA the Financial Ramifications of our Choosing to Stay as a BII Status Airport.
4-13-16 GRAMA request documents. The GRAMA request states, “Heber City Airport GRAMA request 4/1/16 1. Heber City Airport income and expenses for the last 5 years. 2. The all original FAA grant assurances, and all airport land purchase contracts with the FAA, for the last 15 years. 3. All meeting minutes, of the airport board and city council, where these land purchase contracts (in #2) were voted on and discussed. 4. All emails in the last 5 years between Mark Anderson and: A. The FAA B. Armstrong Consultants C. Nadim AbuHaidar, President of OK3 AIR.”
These are the documents we have received so far: (you might have to download first to open) Airport revenue 7-2010 to 12-2015 Heber Airport Grant History ***This document has a lot of information about when properties were acquired by the City and what FAA grant agreement helped pay for the land/easement. Airport Land MAP-exhibit A 2016
4-13-16 at the WASATCH COUNTY COUNCIL chambers (25 N. Main Street) there was a meeting to discuss the possible decision by HEBER CITY COUNCIL to expand the airport. The room was packed and some Heber Airport Board, City Council people, and the City Manager were there to answer many questions by the County Council and the public. What the audience learned was what we reported below, after the March 3, 2016 meeting. The Heber City Council has been unable to receive the airport financials from the City Manager (that is why we have filed the GRAMA request above), and he has also not enforced the FBO lease by demanding the FBO’s annual financial statement, referenced below at the 3/3/16 meeting. The County Council and the public in attendance suggested that no decisions should be made by the city council until some financial information is compiled and analyzed. Watch the videos to also learn the confusing hold that the FAA may have over our local airport: Wasatch Taxpayers YouTube page
ALSO SEE A LIST OF AIRPLANES AND WHAT SIZE AIRPORTS THEY NEED- Airplane sizes VS airport requirements
***MUST LISTEN VIDEOS of the 3-3-16 discussion with city council on NADIM’s financials. Go here: Wasatch Taxpayers YouTube Page The 3 videos cover a wide range of topics, and Heber City Council tries to get important information from the FBO to best determine the financial health of the airport as they decide on whether to expand.
**** Back in 4-3-2014- The Wasatch Taxpayers Association gave a presentation to the Heber City Council regarding their Airport Advisory Board’s conduct in the last couple years. The Airport Board had not been following their bylaws and have had conflicts of interest. NADIM was on the airport advisory board even though he did not live in Wasatch County AND had a MAJOR conflict of interest. (per city code). Erik Rowland, a city councilman at the time, was on the airport board and took at least $1500 campaign donation from Nadim, but Erik didn’t submit his final campaign disclosure to the city, per state code. There were extensions to the FBO’s contract voted on by the council, and other questionable decisions which do not seem in the city’s best interest. (See pages 10-12 in below presentation document).
HEBER AIRPORT UPDATE- 1-21-16 Heber City Council voted to move $1.3 million and purchase Maverik property. The agenda item read, “The purpose of the Hearing is to increase the total appropriations in the Capital Projects Funds in the 2015-2016 fiscal year budget.” How would a citizen know that item is about purchasing property? The city manager says there is an agreement in writing- even though Maverik themselves do not own the property yet. They are supposedly closing on the property the end of January. A citizen expressed concern about the fact that the city did not protect the citizens and make sure that that corner was zoned properly to begin with- that it was a $1.3 million mistake by the city. They asked who’s job it is to alert the council of these type of issues, and who’s responsible for the mistake? The property would never have had to be purchased by the city if it was zoned properly. One councilman shared his view that that property STILL did not need to be purchased by the city, and he would not be voting for the purchase. Listen to the discussions of moving the money and buying the property here: Amending budget: Wasatch Taxpayers YouTube page Purchase contract: Wasatch Taxpayers YouTube page
12-3-15 Heber City is going to look into purchasing land adjacent to the airport(in the range of $1.5 MIL) across the intersection from WalMart. The city council says it’s purely for safety reasons, although the FAA has not mandated the purchase. See FAA emails-Email BrownsonFAA1 Email BrownsonFAA2
This may be to secure the area in case of an airport expansion. Maverik already has it under contract to put a gas station there, so they are not eager to relinquish their right to purchase. The city council has decided to get an appraisal and an environmental assessment on the property and allocated $30,000. Listen to discussion here (1:01:50 into recording is Airport Capital funds amendments.)
The council WAS planning on voting to adjust the current budget to approve this $1.5 million in the DEC 3rd Regular Council meeting here. (#3 on agenda) But, Heber City Council NOW is looking to approve an appraisal on the property (#4 on agenda), and wait to move the $1.5 million from the 2015 budget at their Dec 3rd meeting, as previously planned. It looks like the council is slowing down, doing some due diligence, and more carefully considering a $1.5 million real estate purchase that some citizens feel is not even necessary.
There was supposed to be a NOV 5, 2015 presentation by the FAA which has been canceled, so then a NOV 19, 2015 PUBLIC HEARING did NOT take place. It seems that the mayor, Alan McDonald, was rushing this process of voting on the airport expansion and wants a vote by Dec 2015. Some council people pushed back and said that the new council (after the Nov election) should be involved in this decision in the new year. The citizens living in the whole valley should get involved and voice their opinions, even though this is purely a HEBER CITY decision since the city owns the airport. Watch the discussion at the Oct 15, 2015 Heber council meeting: Wasatch Taxpayers YouTube page
4-17-14 The Heber City Council amended their bylaws for the Airport Advisory Board at their April 17th meeting. This makes WASATCH COUNTY residency requirements clear for board members. The FBO (fixed based operator) was also removed from the Airport Board since it violated the conflict of interest code. Also, the city attorney gave a class on conflicts of interest and ethics to city council, SOME airport advisory board, and planning commissioners. See city council’s discussion on their amended bylaws here: Wasatch Taxpayers YouTube Page
4-3-14 The Wasatch Taxpayers Association gave a presentation to the Heber City Council regarding their Airport Advisory Board’s conduct in the last couple years. The Airport Board has not been following their bylaws and have had conflicts of interest
Want to see the FBO’s (fixed based operator) Contract? Why did Heber City Council extend the contracts to 2041 when it already was out to 2025? fbo agreement-original 1-8-1995 fbo agreement amend 5-8-12
3-12-14 The Heber Airport Board discussed their bylaws and what recommendations should be sent to the Heber City Council. A citizen approached the board and had concerns about this current board not following their own current bylaws, and whether certain board members filled the criteria set by the bylaws, since 2 are not Wasatch County residents. There was also a discussion and disagreement between the fixed based operator and some hanger owners on the presentation that was given by the owners to the Airport Board. See videos of meeting here: Wasatch Taxpayers YouTube Page
2-6-14 The Heber Airport hanger owners gave a presentation to the Heber City Council to air their concerns about the possible re-negotiation of their leases with Heber City. The Heber City council wants to shorten their term so that they can move the hangers to EXPAND and enlarge the airport. That means LARGER planes will be able to land here. The hanger owner’s presentation is here as well as the recording of the Heber City council meeting.
Also, the Heber City Mayor wants to appoint 2 citizens (Heber board appts 2014) on the Airport Advisory Board, who have extensive airport knowledge, but some on the Heber City Council want to have 2 Heber City Council people on advisory board instead. This consolidates power to a few people, and imposes Heber City’s agenda upon the airport advisory board instead of allowing the airport board to be free to accomplish their objectives. (see 2-12-14 airport meeting below for more info)
Videos of Council discussing Mayor’s board appts- Wasatch Taxpayers YouTube Page
Recordings of hanger owner’s presentation- Wasatch Taxpayers YouTube Page
2-12-2014 Airport Advisory Board Meeting – Wasatch Taxpayers YouTube Page
Airport Advisory Board Chair and Heber City Councilman, Erik Rowland, discusses his desire to change the airport board’s bylaws to allow 2 Heber City Council members on the airport board. Also discussed are the Jviation report, reversionary leases, and change of Chair and Vice Chair positions.