Council passes $250,000 airport bond
Blaine city council unanimously passed a $250,000 bond ordinance to be used for the purchase of land near the southern end of the Blaine Municipal Airport and the removal of trees encroaching into the flight path.
�You�ll recall we�ve had a number of discussions about financing the tree removal,� city manager Gary Tomsic told the council on Monday evening. �We put together a cost for completing this project. The city has to borrow funds in order to make that project happen.�
The city received an offer from Banner Bank in Walla Walla, Washington in the form of a limited tax levy general obligation bond in the principal amount of $250,000. The bond is set at a 4.65 percent annual interest rate and will reach maturity on December 1, 2018.
There are about 485 trees near the southern end of the airport that have been designated as too tall and encroaching into the flight path, as well as trees located around B, C, and D streets. In addition to paying for the removal of the tree encroachment issue, the bond will partially pay for the purchase of 5.4 acres of land, owned by Robert Carruthers of Custer. The land has been the subject of an ongoing court battle between Carruthers and the city of Blaine as it contains trees that need to be cut. The area also contains wetlands, and should logging take place in that area, wetlands would have to be restored, thus meaning additional mitigation costs for the city of Blaine. As the owner of the land, the city would be able to cut the trees to the stumps and not have to incur the wetland mitigation costs.
�These resources will be used primarily to fund the acquisition of the land,� Tomsic said. In discussion with Carruthers, the city of Blaine set an acquisition price at $305,000, and have previously deposited $51,000 in Superior Court for the land.
In addition to the battle with Carruthers, the city is also in a legal battle with Carruthers� neighboring property owners, Eugene and Edith Klein, and have deposited about $22,000 in Superior Court for the removal of Klein�s tall trees.
The Kleins own 25.4 acres of undeveloped land between the southern end of the airport and Carruthers� property. The area is located between Yew Avenue, Fern Street and Odell Road. Not only does this land contain tall trees, it is also the only designated area within Blaine city limits for adult entertainment businesses.
The tree issue has been lingering for many years and was noted by council members that action needs to be taken.
�I don�t like cutting trees, but decisions were made by this council in 1997 dealing with safety being a key factor,� mayor Dieter Schugt said. �Five years later we�re making a decision on the safety. We�ve been on this subject long enough, so I�ll just call for a vote.�
The airport commission holds a public meeting the third Friday of each month; however, this month is scheduled for October 24. The meeting starts at 9 a.m. at city hall.