Thursday, September 28, 2017

Burlington International (KBTV), Chittenden County, Vermont: Colchester, Williston reject resolutions to change airport oversight



Colchester and Williston have declined to join other Chittenden County municipalities in asking the Burlington City Council for a study on regional governance of the Burlington International Airport. 

Colchester's Selectboard voted 4-0 on Tuesday night against adopting a resolution that was presented to them by South Burlington City Councilor Thomas Chittenden and City Manager Kevin Dorn. One Selectboard member was absent during the vote.

Winooski has supported South Burlington's position. 

Last week, Williston's Selectboard also voted against having its town officials draft a new resolution. The board also declined to take any action on the resolution brought to them by Chittenden and Dorn, Williston Town Manager Rick McGuire said. 

"At this point, the board considers that issue has been addressed," McGuire said. 

The South Burlington City Council has been courting other towns to support a resolution to study whether the airport should change from oversight primarily by the city of Burlington to more regional governance. Shelburne, which was also approached, has taken no action. 

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger and Airport Director of Aviation Gene Richards have both asked the towns to reject the measures. 

Both Colchester and Williston selectboards' members said they were interested in the idea of regionalized governance, but they felt that certain issues needed to be worked out between Burlington and South Burlington first. 

South Burlington City Councilor Chittenden said he was thankful for the way the towns received the information and the consideration they gave the issue. He said he was not disappointed by their decisions, but said many issues remain unresolved. 

Richards said he was pleased with the towns' decisions. He added that he'd be willing to have a conversation about regionalized governance in the future if there is a good, fact-based reason for doing it. 

"We're delighted that the other communities were able to see what's really going on," Richards said. "What we received last night from Colchester is that they support the airport and the work that we're doing."

Mayor Miro Weinberger also issued a statement regarding the towns' decisions. 

“I believe the current form of Airport governance has accomplished much success for the Airport and the region over the past 100 years, and I appreciate that Colchester and Williston have considered our perspective and decided not to move forward with the South Burlington resolution at this time," Weinberger wrote. "We will continue to work with all municipalities in the region to collaboratively address any issues concerning the Airport as they arise.”

Story and video ➤ http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com

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