SeaTac City Council wants study on possible additional airport

By Jack Mayne

While it did not appear preplanned, SeaTac City Manager Joe Scorcio said the city is pushing for study of possible new regional airport locations because of the regions’ growth at the same meeting when new Port of Seattle executive director was introducing himself to SeaTac Councilmembers.

Port Commissioner Ryan Calkins introduced to the SeaTac City Council new Port of Seattle Executive Director Stephen P. Metruck, on the job just 13 days on Tuesday, and a retired Coast Guard admiral. He said he has spent a lot of his first few days examining Sea-Tac Airport to be sure “we have the right relationship with the communities” surrounding the airport, but was visiting the SeaTac community first.

‘Additional airport’
City Manager Joe Scorcio told Council of a letter to the Puget Sound Regional Council about their suggestion of “maximizing the development” for Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

“Our comment back stresses that we want to see them embarking on a regional analysis of an additional airport while Sea-Tac continues to grow and continue to bring that to the forefront.”

He said Councilmember Pam Fernald had forwarded a resolution the City of Burien recently approved and sent that calls for the state, the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) “to look at an additional airport.”

Scorcio wanted and the Council approved that a Council committee considers recommending SeaTac send a similar resolution to the the two agencies.

70% of Port revenue
Councilmember Peter Kwon said he wanted to remind Port Executive Director Metruck that the airport “represents more than 70 percent of the entire Port of Seattle’s revenue, the airport is really where the money is coming in,” adding the airport has a huge impact on the city.

Port executive Metruck said he honors the Port’s past, but an “exciting thing for me was to be part of the Port as we are looking at the next century agenda really looking with all the communities to build that way forward for the whole region.”

Mayor Michael Siefkes said the history of the city and the airport “has not always been the greatest, but I notice that over the last 18 months, we’ve worked together on some projects and the new interlocal agreement where we really feel like a partner, so you are coming into a situation we’ve put a lot of work in and I think we are in a good place.”

Councilmember Clyde Hill said he has history with the airport when his first two homes in the city were taken by the airport for the second and third runways “so I’ve got some history with the Port.”

Hill noted that the interlocal agreement with the Port “is a breath of fresh air.”

The Council also confirmed the appointment of Roger Kadeg to the city’s Airport Advisory Committee by Mayor Siefkes.

Finance and Systems Director Gwen Pilo and SeaTac City Manager Joseph Scorcio presented an updated and revised city budget that increases budget revenue by $2.9 million during Tuesday’s SeaTac City Council study session. Pilo said that includes $22,600 for Port of Seattle permitting fees, $1.4 million for the city’s community relief fund and $1.2 million into the storm drainage services fund.

Scorcio said some changes will take place on the expenditure side of the budget by Feb. 17 when the new Interlocal Agreement (the “ILA”) takes effect, and others will be made later. One change is a full time permit coordinator, the person at the city’s front desk, who will take on additional duties while continuing to work with SeaTac citizens but also will add coordination of city permits issued for businesses at the airport.

Seperately, the Port of Seattle announed several new businesses coming to the airport that will be required to have city business licenses. The new airport business operations are Caffé D’arte, Skillet, Sunset Fried Chicken, Filson and Elliott Bay Book Company.

He also asked for Council approval to replace a temporary building inspector position to full time necessary because of the city’s economic boom that is ongoing.

He also said the city needs to add $930,000 for previously approved six additional city police officers under the contract for police services with the King County Sheriff’s Department. Mayor Michael Siefkes said the money was available because of the new ILA agreement with the Port of Seattle.

All of the changes were later approved in the regular Council session.

The Council also approved a $4.6 million contract with Coast to Coast Turf to make field improvements at Valley Ridge Park Sportsfields, which Parks director Larry Ellis says will virtually finish the project to have four fields completed with synthetic turf and lighting. He said fees have generated “just over $2 million … so additional fields with synthetic turf will increase the revenue over the next 10 years.”

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