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Airport Authority to negotiate new lease for land

by Chris Olson

Posted on 11/5/2015

The Jamestown Regional Airport Authority will present a counter offer to Reimers General Partnership concerning a lease of 798 acres of airport property for farmland use.

The Airport Authority held a special meeting Wednesday to discuss and review how it wanted to proceed after the authority declined an unsolicited lease renewal request from Dale Reimers at the authority's Oct. 21 meeting.

Authority Vice Chairman Jeff Wilhelm said Mayor Katie Andersen and City Attorney Leo Ryan, the Airport Authority's legal counsel, will put together terms for a new lease, including the lease rate per acre. Chairman Jim Boyd and Airport Manager Sam Seafeldt will present the proposed new lease and terms to Reimers by Nov. 13.

"We need to have an answer back from Reimers by Nov. 18, our next regular meeting," Boyd said.

Reimers has leased 798 acres from the airport since Oct.1, 2005. The first lease expired in 2010, but the Airport Authority accepted a renewal offer from Reimers in 2010 that extended the lease through 2015. Reimers paid $78.32 an acre in the first lease renewal that expired at the end of the 2015 growing season.

Reimers presented a second renewal on the original 2005 lease dated Sept. 2. The Airport Authority declined renewing the lease for a second time in October and scheduled a special meeting for Nov. 4 to further discuss the matter.

Boyd said the board needed to decide if there a perpetual lease renewal option in the 2005 lease agreement. Andersen, who served on the Airport Authority in 2010, said she didn't think the lease had a perpetual renewal clause.

"I don't think that was the board's intention in 2010," she said. "The intention was to extend terms of the agreement. It wasn't meant to be a perpetual lease, it was a one-time option to renew."

Wilhelm said he would like to see the Airport Authority negotiate with Reimers.

Keith Veil said he would hate to see the airport lose Reimers as a lease client because he feels Reimers has done a good job in maintaining the lease property. He said he has also heard from members of the public who wonder about how the land is leased.

"I've heard a lot of people ask about this property and why it never comes up for bid," he said.

The other option the Airport Authority is considering with the airport property is putting it up for bid or auction. Craig Neys, the Stutsman County Commission representative on the Airport Authority, said if the authority goes the route of accepting bids or auction, he would prefer the authority take sealed bids.

The Airport Authority expects to take action on this matter at its Nov. 18 meeting.

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