Powell City Council holds back from selecting a firm for airport master plan

Posted 6/23/22

In a 3-2 vote, the Powell Municipal Airport Board had recommended a company out of Kansas to help Powell develop a 10-year plan for the airport. 

However, with no consensus from the board and …

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Powell City Council holds back from selecting a firm for airport master plan

Posted

In a 3-2 vote, the Powell Municipal Airport Board had recommended a company out of Kansas to help Powell develop a 10-year plan for the airport. 

However, with no consensus from the board and questions about the recommendation from one councilmember, the Powell City Council voted this month to hold off on making a decision on the matter. 

The Federal Aviation Administration requires airports to update their master plans every decade, and the current plan for the Powell Municipal Airport expires this year. 

The estimated cost for developing a new plan is $333,000. The FAA will cover 90% of the final cost, and the Wyoming Department of Transportation will cover another 6%. The remainder falls to the City of Powell. 

“They force all this on you, and you have to do this to have the airport, but you have to pay for part of it,” city administrator Zack Thorington said. 

The city requested submittals of qualifications from 20 different companies that provide airport planning services, and four of them responded. The board interviewed three of the four. 

The Powell Municipal Airport Board voted 3-2 to recommend Kansas-based Coffman Associates. 

Speaking after the meeting, Ben Hubbard, Powell building official, said the Wyoming Department of Transportation provides a recommended list of criteria that the board may consider in selecting a firm for the project. 

The airport board selected Coffman based on relevant work experience, past product delivery and future aviation economic opportunities; it gave extra weight to the last two criteria over relevant work experience. 

Councilor Geoff Hovivian, who is the council liaison for the airport board, raised concerns about the board’s recommendation. 

Hovivian said Coffman was his second choice. While the company’s experience was valuable, he explained, other firms had more experience in Wyoming.

“I like to keep money local,” Hovivian argued. 

Mayor John Wetzel said if the board had come to an unanimous recommendation, he’d support it, but since the board’s vote was close and there was no deadline on selecting a firm, he’d be more comfortable with the council taking a closer look at the options. 

“If it’s that close, it’s the council’s obligation to review and make a final decision,” Wetzel said. 

The council voted unanimously to table the selection indefinitely while councilors examine the choices and the airport board’s scoring of the firms that were interviewed. 

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