The county’s board of commissioners has met several times in closed meetings to discuss the legal aspects of the dispute and to consider a recent proposal from JetAway, which it ultimately rejected.
The county’s conflict with JetAway began in late 2005 when the county let the bid for fixed-base operator, or FBO, services at the county-owned Montrose airport to Black Canyon Jet Center. JetAway has been filing lawsuits ever since and the battle has cost the county close to $750,000 in legal fees.
Located just north of airport property, JetAway has been issued court restraining orders to stop conducting FBO operations, and has been banned by the county from using airport property since November of last year.
To continue to do business at the airport, the county has required JetAway to submit a signed access permit agreement and tender “payment of required fees.”
Those required fees come to about $50,000 per year, considerably more than the $250 per year JetAway pays now.
Commissioner Gary Ellis said he didn’t want to get into the details of the county’s rejection of JetAway’s most recent proposal, but it “was not in the best interests of the airport or the county.”
County Attorney Bob Hill also declined to discuss the details of JetAway’s proposal, and echoed Ellis’s statement.
The only thing for the county to do now, he said, is wait for a ruling by the Federal Aviation Administration concerning a complaint filed by JetAway.
Hill said JetAway asserts in the so-called Part 16 complaint to the FAA that the county did not negotiate in good faith during court-ordered mediation last year and that the county had leased all the available land at the airport to Jet Center Partners, owners of Black Canyon Jet Center.
“Our response was that we did negotiate in good faith and were there to preserve the best interests of the county and airport,” Hill said. “And the part about leasing all the available land is not true. There is more land available and we have a 9.6-acre tract designated for a second FBO site at the airport.”
JetAway owner Steve Stuhmer was not available for comment.