Important Information About The Georgetown
November 4, 2002
In a closed-session meeting and without public input, the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors has decided to not renew the county's lease with the only FBO (fixed-base operator) at the Georgetown Airport, Steve and Trish Cimmarusti. For the past 10 years, the Cimmarustis have operated their Blacksheep aircraft servicing and maintenance business and their Skyways flight training school at the Georgetown Airport and now the county has served them notice to vacate.
The web site titled "Important Information About The Georgetown Airport" (at http://www.gtdivide.net/airport) contains a wealth of letters and also articles written in aircraft association magazines regarding the airport, the Cimmarustis, and Georgetown's EAA Chapter 1074 which the Cimmarustis founded.
I have attended the two Board of Supervisors meetings that have met since the county served notice to the Cimmarustis to vacate. At both of these meetings (Tuesday, October 19 in Placerville and the offsite meeting on Tuesday, October 26 in Diamond Springs) many Divide residents took time off from work and other activities to attend these daytime meetings. The speakers were heard during the Open Forum session at both Board meetings since the airport debacle was not part of the scheduled agenda. (During Open Forum, anyone can speak to the Board members about any non-agenda item, however the Board members cannot comment - they may only listen or ask questions, and decide at some other time whether to address the subject).
At both meetings, several speakers addressed the Georgetown Airport item. All the speakers supported the Cimmarustis and requested that the Board reconsider its decision not to renew the lease. The speakers also cited many examples of the benefits of the Cimmarustis' stewardship of the airport; both their aviation business and their strong support of the Georgetown Divide community have been a catalyst for encouraging community activities and supporting the local economy.
Note that, NOT ONE, not even one, person at these meetings spoke in support of the Board of Supervisors decision to not renew the lease of the current FBO, nor did anyone say anything negative about the Cimmarustis! To the contrary, there has been much praise of the Cimmarustis for their tenacity after the 9/11 terrorist bombings.
Remember, when the terrorists attacked us, the US government immediately closed down all airports in the United States. For many weeks, the government kept general aviation airports, like our Georgetown airport, shut down. These types of airports in particular suffered and many aviation-related businesses failed during this time. The government-mandated curtailment of aviation-related activities resulted in lost income from lack of airplane sales, aircraft maintenance, students for flight instruction, and aircraft rentals, etc. During this time, the FAA changed air-space restrictions daily; as a community service, Trish checked the FAA web site several times a day, printed out the notam's (notices to airmen about regulation changes), and made them readily available to the pilots. I commend the Cimmarustis who, without any source of income for an extended length of time, kept the airport going, and managed to catch up on their obligations to the county.
In summary, the well-informed supporters spoke eloquently, were well-mannered and courteous, and showed utmost respect for the Board members throughout the meetings. Letters and emails to the Board members are of the same demeanor as you'll see when you read them on the web site. As a result of the Board of Supervisors' closed-session meeting on October 29, 2002, District 2 Supervisor Helen Baumann caused Item 62 to be added to their November 5, 2002 agenda. You can read Item 62 in its entirety at http://www.gtdivide.net/airport/nov5.htm. (I especially appreciate District 2 Supervisor Helen Baumann's interest and the action she has taken on behalf of those of us in District 4 since she is not our official representative.) As Item 62 is only a recommendation, not an absolute, I have written the members of the Board of Supervisors to express my appreciation and support of Supervisor Baumann's action, and to encourage the other Board members to support her recommendation. I encourage you all to let your supervisor know your opinion on this important Georgetown Airport matter.
cc: Georgetown Gazette; Mountain Democrat; Auburn Journal; Board of Supervisors; Pat Leeds, Cimmarustis