Carson City's Airport Authority has much to be proud of with the expansion of the airport and numerous other improvements, and board attorney Steve Tackes said part of its success can be attributed to the board's makeup.
"Two of the seven members on the airport authority are manufacturers," he said, "and they bring a certain business sense. They're one of the reasons the airport is so healthy. That's not to denigrate the contributions of the other members, but manufacturers bring a business operation perspective."
However, because the Board of Supervisors has had difficulty finding someone to fill one of those slots, and it has remained vacant for the past year, the board makeup could change, Tackes said.
With the help of Ray Bacon, executive director of the Nevada Manufacturers Association and freshman Assemblyman Pete Livermore, a former Carson City supervisor, Tackes drafted Assembly Bill 103 which went to the Assembly Government Affairs Committee Monday.
The heart of the bill is two-fold. It expands the area where supervisors can consider applicants for the two manufacturer seats. Instead of being adjacent to the airport, they could be anywhere within a three-mile radius, Tackes said.
Secondly, if supervisors are unable to find a manufacturer, they would be able to appoint someone else to fill the vacancy, such as a citizen at large, a pilot at large or a past official.
The board makeup was determined by supervisors years ago when the authority was formed, which Tackes said showed great insight.
"They knew adding manufacturers would create a great synergy, so they built that into the airport authority," he said. "And they have brought additional traffic, sold more fuel. Their perspective is very beneficial."
Besides two manufacturers, the authority includes two fixed-base operators, one city official, a pilot at large and a citizen at large.
"Just about all the members are pilots, but they are not required to be," Tackes said.
The board meets once a month for two or three hours, generally, he said, but there is a lot of work that needs to be handled in between.
"Everyone jumps in if they're needed," he said.
Tackes said Marilyn Kirkpatrick, who chairs the Government Affairs Committee, asked during Monday's hearing whether he thought the difficulty in filling the manufacturer seat could be a result of the recession. He told her it was possible.
"Business owners might have to do more work themselves now if they've made cuts, so it could be cause and effect," he said.
Tackes said Livermore has been a big help.
"When we talked to him, he said, 'I'll give you one of my bills.' That's very big for us. He introduced and explained it in committee, and I fielded questions," he said.
Assembly Bill 103 will likely be voted out of committee and then head to the Assembly floor.
"I was told this thing ought to go through like a bullet since it was simple and had no opposition," Tackes said.