Council discusses airport fee schedule, ambulance service; police officer sworn in

From L: Renon Savage, Cedar City recorder, presents the oath to Kirt Carpenter and Kirk Lovell as they are sworn in as new officers in the Cedar City Police Department, Cedar City, Utah, Jan. 14, 2015 | Photo by Holly Coombs, St. George News

CEDAR CITY — Options for Iron County ambulance service were presented to the Cedar City Council Wednesday at its regular meeting, an amendment to the airport fee schedule was passed, and two new officers were sworn in to join the Cedar City Police Department.

Ambulance service

Due to $2.1 million in debt accrued over the past 10 years, a change in ambulance service within Iron County is being considered. The three Iron County Commissioners and all the mayors within the county have met over the course of the past four months to decide on the best option.

Representatives from the Iron County Sheriff’s Office presented three recent options suggested by the county commissioners for the council to consider.

 Read more: Commission presents new options for future of county ambulance service

The first option would include providing ambulance service management by an ambulance board comprised of individuals within the areas that the ambulance serves. The second option would allow municipalities to take ownership of the ambulance service. The third option would be turning the service over to private enterprise.

The council decided to put together a proposal and evaluate which will be more affordable and provide the best service to Cedar City. A vote on the matter was tabled for two weeks.

Airport fee schedule

In the council’s Jan. 8 meeting, a fee schedule with the adjustment of the flight school’s fees for use of the Cedar City Regional Airport was discussed. The fees were presented as a way to help bring fees in line with airport expenses.

The proposed fees include an increase in fuel flowage fee from 7 cents per gallon to 10 cents per gallon, as well as an increase in the flight school operator-landing fee from $1,750 per month to $5,000 per month for up to 25 helicopters with an additional $200 per month fee for each additional helicopter over the 25 allowed.

Councilman John Black made a motion to reduce the proposed $5,000 flight school operator-landing fee to $3,750 per month, retaining the additional $200 per month proposed for the additional helicopters over the 25 allowed. Black also proposed that the 10-cent fuel flowage fee be passed.

The council passed the proposed fee schedule, as amended by Black’s motion, with a 5-0-vote.

“We have a staff that has provided a great fee structure for us,” he said. “Are those fees infallible? No. The same exists at the airport. We have to have people provide that fee structure to the best of their ability.”

After the motion passed, Upper Limit Aviation Co-owner Lois Reid was among concerned citizens who addressed the council on the fee increases. Upper Limit Aviation, a helicopter school that has teamed up with Southern Utah University to provide students a flight program, is one program feeling the brunt of the fee schedule change.

Reid said that the helicopter school has already given $36,000 for use of the airport and called the fee schedule arbitrary, discriminatory and unjust. She suggested that the flat rate of $3,750 be taken off, but that the the fuel flowage fee remain.

Cedar City Mayor Maile Wilson said the fee schedule will be evaluated every year and could have potential changes in the future. It was also expressed that Southern Utah University wants to work and help Upper Limit Aviation with finances as it provides education to students.

Public Works Director Ryan Marshall said the fees are not arbitrary. The way that the airport operates and is doing its job it does not fall in that category.

City Councilman Fred Rowley said the flight schools need to pay the cost of using the airport. Businesses take care of the property on which they operate, he said. Upper Limit Aviation needs the airport to operate and as such must pay to use it.

Their burden of their business should not fall on the backs of our citizens,” Rowley said. “All I’m getting at is that we have you pay us what it costs to operate the place. I don’t know if we hit that or not. I hope that we monitor this as closely as we want our impact fees. If it is too high, lets bring it down; if it’s not high enough, let’s move it up.”

United Parcel Service aka UPS, FedEx, and the Bureau of Land Management are among other businesses who make use of the airport. Other businesses do not carry the burden of Upper Limit Aviation, Rowley said.

“They need to cover their cost,” Rowley said. “From the meetings we’ve had to look at the numbers – and Ryan has done a great job in getting us the accurate numbers – I am comfortable with the vote we made.”

New police officers

Cedar City Police Chief Bob Allinson announced Kirk Lovell as a patrol officer and Kirt Carpenter as a Code Enforcement Officer. Renon Savage, city recorder, swore in the two officers. Allinson expressed that the two men will serve as a great addition to the city law enforcement.

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