FAA, city have conflicting funding stories | TahoeDailyTribune.com

FAA, city have conflicting funding stories

Michael Schneider

Despite the assertion from city officials that the Federal Aviation Administration has committed $114,000 to partially fund the Lake Tahoe Airport’s control tower, FAA representatives say no decision has been made.

“I’ve been told we haven’t made a decision,” Tim Pile, FAA public affairs representative in Seattle, said on Monday.

Airport assistant manager Janis Brand reiterated the city’s position that FAA Administrator Jane Garvey had confirmed the funding through February 1999.

“We have no doubt conformation is coming today,” Brand said Monday as she awaited a video conference with the FAA.

The city had scheduled a video conference for Monday to discuss the issue with the FAA, but the FAA canceled, saying they couldn’t get all their representatives together, Brand said.

The meeting has been rescheduled for this morning.

City Manager Kerry Miller has recommended to the council that it vote tonight to enter the city into a contract with Barton Air Traffic Control, a private air traffic control company, to provide tower services through February 1999.

The $114,000 the city believes the FAA will contribute to tower staffing would fund a manual weather observer position eight hours a day. In order for that position, which could double as an air traffic controller, to be 12 hours per day, the city would need to contribute $24,000 to be pooled with the FAA’s $114,000.

Miller said he received verbal confirmation from Garvey’s Washington, D.C., office that the FAA will give the city $114,000 to fund manual weather observations.

Pile said the decision regarding the Lake Tahoe Airport will be made by the Los Angeles FAA air traffic control office.

The contract with Barton ATC calls for the city, not the FAA, to pay Barton more than $12,500 a month through February 1999.

“Based on my own experience, I would wait to see what is in writing,” Pile said, after hearing of the city’s plans to enter a contract for air traffic control tonight.

Pile said he didn’t know when the decision would be made, but thought it would be soon.

“Things are coming to a head here,” he said.

Tahoe Daily Tribune E-mail: tribune@tahoe.com

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