City Approves Land Purchase For Airport

By Beacon Staff

Kalispell City Council voted unanimously Monday night to set up Government Access Channel 9. This government access channel will provide enhanced coverage of locally elected boards, commissions and councils, including that of Flathead County and other area municipalities. The channel would also provide information in the event of an emergency. Copies of televised programming will be available on DVD for $15. Political advertising would not be allowed on the channel. Council discussed televising local school sporting events, and school concerts, performances or debates in the future, should the channel prove successful.

The city expects the government access channel to earn a franchise fee of $155,000, and require $38,689 in operating costs, leaving $116,311to go into the general fund. The city anticipates taking in an additional $19,327 through outside contracts with other agencies. City Manager Jim Patrick stressed that once the channel was up and running, the franchise fees it generates will likely just pay for the operation of the channel to be self-sufficient, and it is unlikely to be a money-making vehicle that puts over $100,000 into the general fund every year.

Council also voted 6-3 to purchase the Fire Place Shop on U.S. Highway 93 south to allow for future expansion of the airport at a cost of $332,000 for 0.55 acre. Councilmen Bob Hafferman, Duane Larson and Tim Kluesner dissented, arguing that the city doesn’t really need the land, and should not be engaging in speculative land purchases on the taxpayers’ behalf. But because the land would provide a southern entrance from U.S. 93 to the expanded airport, as well as provide access to a 7.65-acre piece of city land that is the site of a former dump, council approved.

Council also approved, 7-2, $126,477 in amendments to the 2007-2008 fiscal year budget, paying out additional funds for such items as increased fuel costs and additional rent for some departments due to delays moving into the new city hall. Kluesner and Hafferman dissented.

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