Lack of quorum again delays council meeting

PAXTON — For the second time in a week, the Paxton City Council was unable to hold its regular January meeting on Monday night because only four of eight aldermen attended, not enough to represent a quorum.

Alderman Dan Beppler is in Florida until March, and aldermen Alan Meyer and Bill Goben were working. Del Bruens had been ill last week.

Those present agreed that business before the council could be tabled until the next regular meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 11. Those items include extending cable television franchise agreements with Mediacom and Conxxus, a resolution to support efforts to have the Mahomet Aquifer declared a “sole source” aquifer, and discussion about purchasing an overhead door on the city shed and a $170,000 street sweeper.

Meanwhile, Mayor Bill Ingold read a statement to aldermen about his position on the city-owned airport. He said he sent the smae letter to the Paxton Record for publication this week. Ingold told the council he wanted to give aldermen a “heads-up” of what will be published.

Ingold said that if the airport cannot sustain itself without infusions of cash from the general fund, the city must think about closing it. He said that though he has supported the airport for the 22 years he has been on the council, the airport is only an asset if it benefits the city. He said the city has no spare money to support it. He noted that no money from the general fund has been spent this past year to support it.

The airport generates money from hangar owners for leasing ground the buildings stand on and taxes paid on the hangar buildings. The city gets some income from fuel sales there. Closing the airport is problematical because of contractual agreements with leaseholders to provide a runway and a pump to get fuel. Ingold said no new leases should be entered into and no current ones extended.

Ingold said he agreed with local pilot Rob Steiger, who said last week the council should also look into setting some fees for agricultural users of the airport. The runway is used frequently during the growing season by crop sprayers.

Ingold said that if Gifford resident Jef LeRette wants to operate a skydiving school out of a friend’s hangar at the airport, then he also should pay a fee to the city.
Ingold noted that there are eight aldermen who may think differently than he. In 2009, a motion to close the airport failed 3-5.

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