Letter: Mathews is right: city obviously not ‘terribly concerned’ about residents’ complaints
I attended the March 12, Cottonwood City Council meeting to hear the unveiling of the 5-year strategic plan by the new City Manager, Ron Corbin. Following the presentation, I and several other residents within the city spoke regarding the Strategic Plan’s intent to expand the Airport as an economic driver.
This expansion of services is targeted to bring more business activity to the airport which will also bring more planes, more student pilot repetitive touch and go landings, jet turbine traffic, for a combined effect of increased flight noise to Cottonwood residential areas.
Another strategic plan goal is to improve the quality of life in Cottonwood, as well as ‘listening’ to City residents. On that evening of March 12, I challenged the council and city manager on how they planned to increase airport traffic noise and improve our quality of life at the same time. This was before the plan had been voted upon and accepted.
I received my answer following an email I sent to Mr. Corbin a few weeks later. This is when I realized the city manager and council were not listening to its residents. Mr. Corbin stated via email that the city would be moving forward with the airport expansion, despite objections, although they fully intend to study noise decibel levels and the potential for implementing landing fees at a future date. Bottom line, too late to reverse any plans, decisions or contracts.
Many residents have been involved in the monthly Airport Commission meetings since August of 2018, and we eventually realized these five commissioners were the wolves guarding the hen house rather than working with us to resolve airport noise.
Now we find out that one of the newer Councilmembers, Mike Mathews, has been subversively communicating by private email to his airport buddies in an effort to offset the tide of noise complaints at upcoming council meetings. His comments to his ‘friends’ that neither city staff nor city council are ‘terribly concerned’ about airport noise confirmed our suspicions that staff and council is, as expected, not listening to its constituents.
Bottom line: nothing has changed, the council and staff will move forward with their own priorities, regardless of public input, and this city’s quality of life will continue to erode.
It seems that we always hope our voices will be heard, but, in the end, we must recognize that city staff and city council have their own agenda, as exemplified a few days ago by Councilman Mike Mathews. Some things will never change, I’m sorry to say.