Midlothian City Council approves suspension of Joint Airport Board

Chris Douglas, Midlothian Police Chief, Midlothian Mayor Justin Coffman
Officer Chris Douglas, Midlothian Police Chief, Midlothian Mayor Justin Coffman

MIDLOTHIAN – The Airport Board item was again a main discussion at this week’s Midlothian City Council meeting.

The Council deliberated whether to approve a resolution to suspend the activities and authority of the Joint Airport Board, including Midlothian and Waxahachie until the Council adopted a revised Joint Airport Agreement.

In a Waxahachie City Council meeting earlier this month, they voted to suspend the activities of its members.

In 1987 the City of Midlothian and the City of Waxahachie entered the Joint Airport Agreement to jointly acquire land, construct, develop, operate, and maintain an airport. In 1992, the cities entered into a revised agreement to define the cities’ and the airport board’s roles and responsibilities to operate Mid-Way Regional Airport.

At an earlier Midlothian City Council meeting this month, a revised agreement was developed and presented to the council based on input from both cities, and the City of Waxahachie adopted the revision.

However, the City of Midlothian tabled the item and proposed holding a joint workshop with the City of Waxahachie and airport stakeholders to discuss further and to mutually finalize the revisions to the agreement.

The resolution that passed Tuesday night by the Midlothian City Council to suspend the airport board did not pass easily. Still, a final 4 – 3 vote to suspend passed with Place 2 Mike Rodgers, Place 3 Anna Hammonds, Place 4 Clark Wickliffe, and Mayor Justin Coffman voting for the suspension.

The final vote passed after an executive session had been called, initially requested by Place 1 Allen Moorman, lasting roughly 30 minutes. A first motion failed 3 – 4 to not approve the temporary suspension, with Moorman having made that motion and Place 5 Ed Gardner and Place 6 Hud Hartson voting to keep the board intact.

Staff notes pointed out that during the suspension, the airport will continue to be operated by the airport manager working with both cities.

All council members had comments before the executive session and votes, and their votes reflected their stance on the Airport Board situation.

Gardner reiterated before the vote, “I think this is absolutely the wrong direction to take, and I see no evidence that this will assist in any additional safety, security, or performance for our airport. In fact, I think the moral damage that will take place is going to be even worse and could put lives at risk.”

Hartson had also voiced strong opinions to keep the airport board in place before the executive session.

Those voting to suspend the board had their ideas, with Wickliffe pointing out, “This is not personal. We have an issue with a business partner and are trying to work it out. We will rebuild the house after we put out the fire.”

Hammonds said, “This is not a singular issue, but a buildup of things going on over many months.” Before the executive session on this item, she had also been adamant that there had been much chaos with the board.

In the end, Rodgers said, he believes everything will be good once they get on the other side.

Following that vote, it was determined a joint workshop would be held with Waxahachie, the Joint Airport Board, and both city attorneys, and a survey would also be put out for comment regarding the airport.

The Mid-Way Regional Airport Joint Airport Board consists of three Waxahachie members, three Midlothian members, and one rotating member with three-year staggered terms. This term has had the rotating member be a member from Midlothian.

The council meeting opened with a National Night Out proclamation presentation. Midlothian has 15 neighborhoods signed up to hold a NNO event next Tuesday night, Oct. 3, from 6 to 8 p.m.  They will hold block parties to gather with their neighbors to foster caring communities and a partnership with the police to keep the neighborhoods safe.

Consent Agenda Items Passed

All consent agenda items passed unanimously, including the minutes from the City Council meeting of September 12, 2023, minutes from the Mid-Way Regional Airport Joint Airport Board meeting of August 10, a resolution authorizing an agreement to purchase interests in real property relating to the development of Westside Preserve, the purchase of one 2023 Ram 2500 (DJ7L91) Tradesman 4×4 Crew Cab 6’4″ Box for $59,984.00; which was approved in the FY 2023-24 budget, the expenditure of funds for pavement resurfacing services on various roads within to be done by Donelson Construction Company, LLC for no more than $350,000.00, the approval of an agreement with Day Services, LLC for the 2023 Midlothian Utility Package Water and Sewer Line Improvement Projects with a base bid of $1,023,199.25 plus a five percent contingency and not to exceed $1,074,359.21, and an Interlocal Agreement between the City of Midlothian and the North Central Texas Emergency District.

Regular Agenda Items Passed

All items passed on the regular agenda as well. These items, were discussed in addition to the Airport Board decision and included awarding an insurance contract with Texas Municipal League Intergovernmental Risk Pool (TMLIRP) and an interlocal agreement to provide property & casualty coverages for the City of Midlothian with a total premium $832,186.82, authorizing the City Manager to execute a Street Landscaping Maintenance License Agreement with Crossroads Logistics Park Association to grant the Association the right to maintain certain landscaping improvements within the public rights-of-way located within the Property, the approval of an expenditure for $19,000 by the Midlothian Community Development Corporation to the City of Midlothian for costs associated with a Consultant Services Agreement with Teague, Nall & Perkins for conceptual design modifications and cost estimate for the update of Ridgeview Park, approval to authorize the City Manager to execute a “Lease Agreement” with Martin Marietta North Texas Cement, LLC f/k/a TXI Operations, LP for the placement of an elevated storage tank located off of Ward Road, the approval to authorize the City Manager to execute a “Right of Entry Agreement” with Tarrant Regional Water District for the temporary use of City property at the Auger Water Treatment Plant and adjacent areas as part of a pipeline rehabilitation project, authorizing the City Manager to execute a First Amendment to the Westside Preserve Development Agreement with Westside Preserve Development, LLC, associated with Planned Development 146 Westside Preserve, a one-year Interlocal Agreement for Providing Emergency Services during fiscal year 2024 with Ellis County Emergency Services District No. 2 to provide Fire and Emergency Medical Services response for their jurisdiction, approval to utilize Ellis Countywide Radio System (ECRS) fund balance to complete equipment and antenna relocations to the new Fire Station 3 Radio Building in an amount not to exceed $95,057.26, and an ordinance amending the City of Midlothian’s Fiscal Year 2022- 2023 Ellis County Radio Fund Budget Appropriations not to exceed $95,057.26 from the Unreserved Fund Balance for the relocation of equipment and antenna to the new Fire Station 3 Radio building.

A resolution amending the Master Fee Schedule to amend specific fees for Animal Services, Community Services, Development Code, Emergency Services, Environment Services, Impact Fees, Court, Parks and Recreation, Utilities, and Utility Billing, and adding the fee for Hazardous Waste Vouchers passed 5-2. Still, the motion that passed was to table the item with the exception of the amendments to the development code and table the remaining provisions. Both Rodgers and Hammonds were the “no” vote on this motion.

The Council passed a resolution of candidate nominations for the Ellis Appraisal District Board of Directors for 2024-2025. All five current board members have expressed an interest in continuing to serve: Walter Erwin, Ken Marks, Dani Muckleroy, Rick Keeler, and David Hurst.

Council also passed the nominations for appointments to the Park Board, Zoning Board of Adjustment, Midlothian Economic Development, and Midlothian Community Development Corporation, as presented by the nomination subcommittee.