Management of Apple Valley Airport by City Proposed

Apple Valley Hopes Airport Plan Flies With LAFCO — Victorville Daily Press, CA

The Apple Valley Airport bears the town’s name. It is surrounded by Apple Valley and many of the aviators who use its runways are from the community. So it’s only natural that Apple Valley officials think that management of the airport ? now in the hands of San Bernardino County ? should come from the city as well.

“We’re in a better position from a staffing standpoint, from a leadership standpoint, from a financial standpoint” to manage the airport, said Apple Valley Community and Economic Development Director Ken Henderson.

On Wednesday, Apple Valley’s Town Council took another step toward management of the airport by filing its plan for the dissolution of County Service Area 60 with the Local Agency Formation Committee. If LAFCO ultimately approves the dissolution, Apple Valley will gain control of the airport.

CSA 60 is a 1,730-square-mile area that encompasses parts of Victorville, Hesperia and Adelanto, as well as unincorporated county land. If it is dissolved, a convoluted formula of revenue shuffling would protect residents from any tax increases, while Apple Valley and San Bernardino County both break even.

Henderson said taking over airport operations would help further three of Apple Valley’s priorities ? transportation improvements, economic development of north Apple Valley and acquiring an aviation facility.

Apple Valley Mayor Bob Sagona said he supports the application.

“Essentially we would manage the airport, and the funds would inure to the local level,” Sagona said. “It follows the precept that the government that is closer to the people is the more effective and efficient one.”

Councilman Tim Jasper agreed. He added that control of the airport also would be useful in marketing Apple Valley to business and industry, and cooperative agreements with Victorville could serve both communities.

“We want to work with Victorville and (Southern California Logistics Airport), because their big planes can’t land at our airport, and ours is better suited for general aviation aircraft,” Jasper said. “Our needs complement each other.”

County officials aren’t completely sold on the plan. Norman Kanold, interim assistant county administrator, said more research and negotiations are needed. “We’re still exploring the benefits, impacts and consequences,” Kanold said. “The town is convinced that there is some economic benefit to the town, because it coincides with their economic development plan.”

High Desert Pilots Association President Dick Pearson serves on a committee to study the issue, along with representatives from the town and the county. Pearson said he likes the prospect of more local control over the airport. He hopes that Apple Valley’s stewardship would help protect the surrounding areas from encroachment that might affect airport users. “It’s not just for Apple Valley residents. People from all over the High Desert use the airport,” Pearson said. “There are a lot of pluses to having the High Desert in control.”