Petitioners: Kingman Airport Authority must die

DOUG McMURDO/Miner<BR>
Gary Rucker of the Kingman Airport Users Group speaks to the City Council Tuesday.

DOUG McMURDO/Miner<BR> Gary Rucker of the Kingman Airport Users Group speaks to the City Council Tuesday.

KINGMAN - Gary Rucker of the Kingman Airport Users Group, which is circulating a petition to abolish the Kingman Airport Authority, asked the City Council to allow for testimony regarding the group's concerns. Rucker requested a meeting in May.

The petition alleges the authority is "unaccountable, unproductive, preserves the status quo, demonizes critics, discriminates, and employs corrupt practices."

"The goal is to transform the way business is done," said Rucker during the public comment portion of Tuesday's Council meeting. Rucker said he has owned a business at the airport since 1980 and is a former member of the Kingman Airport Authority board of directors.

Two months ago, the airport users group declared a vote of no confidence in the authority. Since then, more than 300 people have signed the petition.

"We have a better idea how to do business at the airport," he said. "It's our livelihood. No one in leadership has a dog in the fight."

No new businesses have moved to the airport in at least the past seven years. Critics contend it's because the authority is not proactive in attracting them, but Bob Riley, the economic development director at the airport, recently told the Miner the lack of activity is due to the economy. Riley said he did not attend Tuesday's meeting and therefore had no comment.

Mayor Richard Anderson directed City Manager John Dougherty to schedule a meeting with Rucker regarding the May meeting.

In other items of note from Tuesday's meeting:

• Agreed to a request from the Loyal Order of the Moose, which will make more than $18,000 in street improvements in front of its Monroe Street lodge. In exchange, the city will waive a $6,000 fee to abandon roughly 10,000 square feet of right of way so a parking lot can be paved. An independent appraiser pegged the value of the land at $6,000, but Council members said it is essentially unusable property when the issue was first discussed at the March 1 meeting.

The lodge is prepared to renovate the building after a fire damaged it last year. The City Council first discussed the issue earlier this month, but did not take action on the lodge's request for the waiver because members believed doing so would violate the gift clause of the state constitution.

However, staff discovered the lodge was not required to make the street improvements - curbs, gutters and sidewalks - opening the door for the Council to approve the waiver in lieu of the improvements, which constitute a public benefit. The Council voted 5-0 to approve the request. Councilwoman Jen Miles and Councilman Mark Abram did not attend Tuesday's meeting.

• Held an informal discussion regarding the possible annexation of as-yet unidentified areas around the outskirts of the city. Mayor Anderson and Vice Mayor Carole Young directed staff to examine what sales tax revenue the city might pick up through annexation and an examination of the cost and benefits.

Appointed Phillip R. Forrest to the Economic Development and Marketing Commission. Forrest spent nearly three decades in the U.S. Navy and said he hopes to help attract industry to Kingman. He also said he has experience with grant writing.