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Port of Sunnyside close to deal on airport operations

The Sunnyside City Council was last night presented a draft copy of an interlocal agreement drawn up by the city's law firm of Menke Jackson Beyer Ehlis & Harper LLC and the Port of Sunnyside's attorney, Steve Winfree.

The agreement would allow the Port of Sunnyside to take over operations of the Sunnyside Municipal Airport for a period of five years.

City Manager Mark Gervasi said there is a reversion clause, called reassignment to the city, because the city would be assigning the property to the port district.

No money will exchange hands and the port will have to establish a fund to receive and manage all monies related to the airport, according to the proposed agreement.

In the agreement the Port of Sunnyside agrees to continue with the airport advisory committee, as well.

The Port of Sunnyside can assume ownership of the airport property, but the agreement says the city would have to convey to the port all real and personal property.

Councilman Don Vlieger said he would like the city to have the option of voting on conveyance of the property, meaning he would like the language to read the city "may convey to the port all real and personal property."

Port of Sunnyside Director Amber Hansen said the property cannot be sold and no money will exchange hands because the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has a vested interest in the airport.

"The property must remain an airport," she said.

The agreement will be considered for adoption at the Monday, Aug. 22, regular city council meeting.

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