Midlothian, Waxahachie City Council meet with Airport Board in special-called meeting

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MIDLOTHIAN – The City of Midlothian and the City of Waxahachie City Council met with the Joint Airport Board earlier this week to discuss the proposed amendments to the Joint Airport Agreement.

Midlothian Assistant City Manager Clyde Melick was one of the Midlothian City representatives to attend the Joint Special-Called Meeting and Work Session on Wednesday.

According to Melick, the primary change proposed in the Mid-Way Regional Joint Airport Agreement is to have the airport board serve in an advisory role.  It was also suggested that there be a mechanism for the board to discuss the manager with elected city officials, but the exact process is still being discussed.

Not in attendance was Midlothian Place 3 council member Anna Hammonds as well as Airport Board Member Morgan Whitehead.

Former Midlothian City Councilmember Walter Darrah was the only citizen to speak at the meeting. He spoke neither in favor nor against the proposed airport joint agreement, according to Midlothian Mayor Justin Coffman.

In a September City Council meeting, Darrach pointed out the proposed changes to the airport agreement: “This change was written with no involvement from the board, no study of future impact, no input from current stakeholders and business owners at the airport.”

He felt the changes should be placed on hold until a proper group could be established and a plan worked out with all the necessary and experienced parties involved.

At Wednesday’s meeting, Coffman said he believed there was a healthy dialogue regarding the proposed agreement between the board members and the two city councils.

With these conversations in the workshop on Wednesday, the amended proposed agreement was returned to staff for changes reflecting the direction of the conversation.

No formal action was taken at this week’s meeting.

In September, there were several Midlothian City Council meetings in which the Joint Airport Board topic was front and center.

At one meeting, the council deliberated whether to approve a resolution to suspend the activities and authority of the Joint Airport Board that included Midlothian and Waxahachie until the council adopted a revised Joint Airport Agreement. That resolution to suspend the airport board did not pass easily. Still, a final 4 – 3 vote to suspend won the day, with Place 2 Mike Rodgers, Place 3 Anna Hammonds, Place 4 Clark Wickliffe, and Mayor Justin Coffman voting for the suspension.

That 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.

It was in 1987 that the City of Midlothian and the City of Waxahachie entered into the Joint Airport Agreement to jointly acquire land, construct, develop, operate, and maintain an airport in 1987. 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.

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