La Crosse Common Council members and the Aviation Board found a compromise Thursday that will change the board’s make-up while keeping what council members called appropriate oversight.
The council also approved the creation of a Memorial Pool Committee and delayed a loan request from Fenigor Group LLC for the renovation of the Historic Rubber Mills Building for the third time.
The compromise came after the Aviation Board, which oversees the operation of the La Crosse Regional Aiport, recommended changes in May that would have eliminated the need for council approval for lease agreements and contracts with terms shorter than two years.
The primary purpose of the ordinance change is to change airport manager Clinton Thorp’s title to “airport director” and add an additional member to the board, raising it from seven to eight. The changes also require a La Crosse County Board member and at least five city of La Crosse residents to serve on the board.
The ordinance change was delayed last month after council members David Krump, who is also on the Aviation Board, and Francis Formanek asked whether the changes would take out a layer of supervision for the airport.
“There needs to be oversight, and the bottom line is that it comes to this council,” Formanek said.
Andrea Richmond, the other council member on the board, introduced an amendment that reaffirmed council approval of contracts.
“We went through some changes on this, and I believe it’s satisfactory,” Richmond said.
Krump agreed, calling on the council to approve the ordinance.
“There has been a lot of work put into this to get this amendment into something that would allow oversight and to get this moving forward,” Krump said.
The compromise was unanimously approved.
The La Crosse Common Council also unanimously approved a measure to create a nine-member pool committee to research options for the 78-year-old Memorial Pool.
The city closed the pool for the season after learning it required more than $40,000 in work and hired consultant Burbach Aquatics to study the pool. The consultant has since learned it would take either $3.9 million to renovate or $4.4 million to replace the pool, which was leaking water from nearly every segment of piping.
The committee will include seven citizen members, a council member and a park board member, as well as two non-voting city staff members.
The city has also sent out a survey to gather data on La Crosse residents’ pool use and preferences for the historic pool’s future.