Airport authority proposal heads to Kosciusko County Council for consideration

Warsaw Airport Manager Nick King(R) listens to attorney Donald Tribbett talk during Monday night’s city council meeting. News Now Warsaw photo by Dan Spalding.
By Dan Spalding
News Now Warsaw

WARSAW — A proposal by the city of Warsaw to establish a city-county airport authority is now in the hands of the Kosciusko County Council.

On Monday night, Warsaw City Council unanimously approved a resolution that would see the airport shift to a city-county operation in which control is shared equally between the two entities.

The city is seeking the change because of a growing number of projects it deems necessary and contends that the county benefits from the airport operations.

In doing so, it would spread the tax burden to all county taxpayers instead of just city property owners.

Airport Manager Nick King, along with attorney Don Tribbett, fielded questions from the city council on Monday.

They said the governing board would be made up of three appointees from the city and three from the county. The fact that it has equal representation is a statutory decision that sets the stage to ensure policy decisions have strong support.

City council and county council could still have authority over major spending plans.

City councilman Mike Klondaris spoke in favor of the plan and pointed to the importance of the orthopedic industry.

“If we’re going to continue to grow and prosper as a community – if we want to retain and grow our orthopedic business which is so important to everybody –  the time has come,” Klondaris said.

Tribbett told the council he’s been involved in the creation of eight such airport authorities in the past and said afterward he’s never been involved in one that failed to materialize.

“I think once people realize the benefit of an airport authority – what it does for them – I think it’s pretty much a no-brainer,” Tribbett said.

City officials will not take their case to the county council, which could hear the proposal as soon as April 13.