Delta City Council and staff joined Delta County Commissioners and staff on June 26 at the courthouse to talk about projects of interest to both entities. They explored how they can work together to resolve problems which will benefit residents and visitors to both county and city.
The county wants to connect to the city's water and sewer at Blake Field.
Commissioner Doug Atchley spoke about the growth in hangars being built and other activities at Blake Field. "Five hundred people participated in the sky jumping business at the Blake Field last year," he said. "There is buying and selling of hangars and planes are bought and sold there at the airport. That's tax revenue for both the city and the county."
Commissioner Don Suppes added that all the hangar spaces have been leased. "The airport now sells jet fuel and people flying across the nation will stop and refuel at Blake Field because they save money."
Mayor Ron Austin asked if people are occupying apartments at the airport.
Commissioner Mark Roeber said no one has approached the county wanting to live there.
"We're not talking about a huge operation," Atchley said. "We just want to provide bathrooms and a place to get water when the people fly in. New people would like to have a little nicer bathroom."
The subject of the road to the airport was discussed thoroughly.
Austin said "the road sucks" and asked what can be done to improve the drive to Blake Field. He said, "Right of way is probably the biggest issue, but I think improving the road is a bigger issue than expanding the airport." Suppes added that if the road is a joint project between the city and the county, grant funds may be available.
City public works director Betsy Suerth said from the physical perspective water and sewer can be provided to Blake Field. It is a matter of expanding the system and creating some redundancy for a loop. Preliminary engineering will be necessary.
The group decided the next step regarding water and sewer will begin shortly, with Suerth, city community development director Glen Black, Bob Basher from county engineering and county administrator Robbie LeValley meeting to begin research and planning for the utilities to be extended to Blake Field.
The city and county will meet again to discuss further solutions to the road problem and decide which road to improve.
The group also identified the need for a rail spur to strengthen economic development and provide transport out of the area. Mayor pro tem Chris Ryan said a rail spur would be beneficial to agriculture.
Austin said he was happy to have had this discussion about untapped resources that may bring more business to the city and county. "I hope this is one of many meetings in the future," he said.
A collaborative effort between the Delta County Sheriff's Office and municipal law enforcement agencies throughout Delta County has resulted in a proposal for a 1 percent sales tax increase to fund public safety. A PowerPoint presentation titled "Back the Badge" is starting to make the rounds at city/town council meetings, service club luncheons and other events.