ST. CLOUD -- On the first of the year the city of St. Cloud will be handing over the keys to the St. Cloud Regional Airport.

On Monday night, the city council is expected to approve an agreement with the St. Cloud Regional Airport Authority.

This is really the final action that's needed by the city council to really divest all of the interests that the city has in the airport to the Airport Authority.

Airport Director Bill Towle says the agreement has also been submitted to the Federal Aviation Administration, which also needs to give its blessing to the transfer. Once that happens, an appointed board representing Stearns, Benton and Sherburne Counties along with the city of St. Cloud will be running the airport.

The owner of the airport will be the St. Cloud Regional Airport Authority. It's a nine-member board, again representatives from each of the three counties and the city, plus a board member at large.  So, they'll be my boss.

The St. Cloud Regional Airport Authority has been years in the making going back to June of 2019 when an Ad Hoc committee was created.

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Towle says the new Authority's sole focus will help grow the airport.

The airport is one of many things that the city needs to think about.  So, I think, with an airport authority when we meet on a monthly basis those nine individuals that's what they are thinking about is the airport.  It'll be more nimble and have the ability to act faster.

The Airport Authority does have the ability to levy a tax on residents if it wants to, but Towle says he doesn't envision them doing that right away.  Instead, the city has pledged to continue to provide property tax support for up to 10 years, as well as invest half-cent sales tax dollars up to $200,000 a year through 2038.

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