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Keystone Heights meeting Save Our Lakes

Posted 12/31/69


HEIGHTS – After hearing opposition from 11 residents, the city council decided

Monday night to let the voters decide whether the Keystone Heights Airport’s

new manager will …

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Keystone Heights meeting Save Our Lakes


KEYSTONE HEIGHTS – After hearing opposition from 11 residents, the city council decided Monday night to let the voters decide whether the Keystone Heights Airport’s new manager will answer to the current authority board or function as a city department.

Council members believe disbanding the authority management required a change in the city charter. To do that, voters must decide at the ballot box next April whether the board will continue to operate one of the city’s most significant assets or whether a manager hired by the council will work under the direction of the city or the appointed authority board.

Residents appeared to be united in their support for the current system where the city appoints board members.

“What are the specific legitimate reasons for eliminating the Keystone Heights Airport Authority? I think we know the answer. (You) don’t have any specific legitimate reasons,” said airport tenant David Kirkland. “You’ve never had the FAA, FDOT, and federal and state environmental entities or any other agencies come before this council and say to you there is a problem at the Keystone Heights Airport.

“Financial audits prove we’re fiscally sound. Our FDOT annual inspections continue to show that the airport authority and staff are excellently maintaining the airport’s day-to-day operations.”

Kirkland said fuel sales and leases in 2022 and 2023 show the airport has earned $1,120,457. He also said MHD Rockland, the largest tenant at the airport, is withholding a $25 million project to build a campus, administration offices and hangars until the matter is resolved.”

The only airport-related matter on the agenda was letting the voters decide.

“I see that the (authority) leadership has just gone above and beyond with the improvements of the airport, the balance sheet, the financials, making money, and I don’t really see why,” David Nichols said. “You know, why would the city want to change the course that’s going on.”

In other business, the council tentatively approved a 4.2901 millage rate – a 6.48% increase – and an overall budget of $3,387,623 at its next meeting on Sept. 25. The next fiscal budget, which starts on Oct. 1.

Also, Save Our Lakes’ Vivian Katz James asked the council to consider the construction of an Americans with Disabilities Act-compliance fishing pier at Keystone Beach.

Holbrook Manufacturing’s Scott Slater viewed the site in July and prepared an initial budget that could cost the city as much as $221,010.

“I think it’s going to be an extremely good opportunity to add to the beach to make it accessible ADA accessible for everyone, a great fishing pier and it will add to the pavilion and then swimming area,” she said.

The plans called for a 5-foot-wide, 150-foot-long fixed pier, a 4-foot-wide by 40-foot-long gangway and a 50-foot-long floating dock.

If approved, the floating dock railing sections could be removed to install six jet ski ports.

James’ presentation was during the public comments portion of the meeting. The council agreed to add it to the agenda at a future meeting.