January 20, 2023 |

Mayor Chuck Davis wants to streamline Saratoga’s airport advisory board, giving more power to the board on acquiring and spending grant money.

At the January 17th Saratoga Town Council meeting, Mayor Davis said he wants to change how the town oversees Shively Field. Speaking to Bigfoot 99, Mayor Davis said he thinks the airport, being a big money-maker, should be in control of its own destiny.

Photo courtesy of Saratoga Jet Center.

As it stands, Shively Field is controlled by Saratoga’s airport advisory board. Mayor Davis said he wants to allow the airport to apply for federal and state funding without waiting for approval from the town.

Mayor Davis said having the airport board handle the grant writing process will take pressure off town hall, especially the clerk. Mayor Davis would remain on the airport board but the town would have minimal input on how money is being spent.

The hands-off control over the airport has some citizens worried about the airport growing unchecked under the auspices of an unelected an unaccountable advisory board. Without the council having the final say over the airport’s balance sheet, the runway could be expanded, resulting in an influx of large commercial planes. Mayor Davis said the airport can only grow so much. He said he doesn’t think it would affect Saratoga’s small-town nature.

Mayor Davis said he doesn’t want to remove the town’s ability to veto the airport’s plans. He said the airport would still need the council’s OK for large scale projects. Mayor Davis said he just wants to streamline the process, allowing the airport to handle day-to-day operations without having to seek council approval.

Mayor Davis said his idea to change Saratoga’s airport advisory board is still in the early planning stages. He wanted to be clear that the town is not relinquishing all rights over what can and can’t be done at the airport. Even with less control, the town would still have a say in how the jet center is run. Mayor Davis said he is consulting with members of the airport advisory board on how to best implement his plan.

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