The city council also approved a possible extension to the same runway, the city’s longest, from its current 7,800 feet to 8,200 feet to accommodate the relocation of an Instrument Landing System, which helps guide incoming aircraft to land at the airport.
Ninety percent of the $177,548 runway cost for the new pavement and the Landing System relocation will be covered by a Federal Aviation Administration grant. The remaining 10 percent will be covered by the city’s half-cent sales tax, Airport Manager Davis Dickson told council members at Wednesday’s meeting.
A portion of that total cost will be used to fund a required federal environmental study, which will include information about the possible impact to nearby Breckenridge Village, a residential community for adults with mild to moderate intellectual disabilities.
Dickson told council members the equipment would be housed at the end of runway 4/22. That study should take about nine months to complete, he said.
“The pavement is over 20 years old, and it is forecasted to be under the necessary weight capacity to handle the many types of aircraft now landing at the airport,” Dickson said.
He cautioned the environmental study is mandated and must be performed before any work may begin on the runway. Plans are preliminary, Dickson said, and there can be no possible start or finish dates set until the environmental study is done to see how water and air quality are affected.
Tyler resident Larry Meckley told council members he was opposed to using funds from the half-cent sales tax for airport improvements and said the money should be used to make improvements to some intersections along South Broadway Avenue. These improvements, Meckley said, were supposed to have been made in 2006.
“It is wrong to spend this money in that way,” he said.
In November 1995, voters elected to adopt the One-Half Cent Sales and Use Tax within the city of Tyler for public improvements to include public safety, streets, traffic control, airport, water utilities, parks and drainage for the promotion and development of new and expanded business enterprise as allowed in Texas law, according to the city website.
The council also voted to renew City Manager Mark McDaniel’s annual contract, increasing his salary to $195,000 and increasing his auto allowance to $7,000 per year from $6,300 per year. McDaniel, who has been with the city for for eight years, previously made a $178,500 annual salary, along with an additional $10,000 per year performance bonus, which brought his total salary to $188,500, city spokeswoman Susan Guthrie said after the meeting.
The council announced the decision after meeting in executive session.
The city now will roll the $10,000-per-year performance bonus into McDaniel’s annual salary. Mayor Barbara Bass, along with city council members, praised McDaniel’s leadership skills and called him “the best city manager in the state.” Mayor Bass said most cities now roll that performance bonus into a city leader’s annual salary.
McDaniel first served four years as Tyler s deputy city manager before being named manager in 2009. McDaniel declined pay increases as the city weathered difficult economic times in the past few years, officials have said. He has more than 25 years experience in municipal management and holds two degrees, in addition to completing the Senior Executive in Local Government Program at Harvard University.