Emrich hangar lease approved as to form

Robert Smith
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

The Pawhuska City Council voted, 4-0, on March 28 to approve an airport hangar lease for Emrich Aerial Spraying as to the form of the agreement, with Interim City Manager Laura Teague to work with company owner Angela Emrich and others to finalize the details.

The council vote provided the company with enough of a pledge of support from Pawhuska city government to avert a possible decision by Angela Emrich to give up on her efforts to develop a long-term business presence in the city. She explained to councilors that she had been working for four years to achieve a degree of stability for her operations in Pawhuska, but had encountered repeated delays.

The March 28 discussion initially looked like it might lead to another delay. Mayor Roger Taylor said that councilors had only received lease documentation a short time earlier. He proposed tabling consideration of the lease approval until Thursday, April 6.

At-Large Councilor Steve Tolson, who is a real estate professional, commented that the lease documentation did not include a legal description of the property.

The suggestion to postpone the lease approval discussion led to an uneasy exchange of views about Emrich’s concerns.

“My concern is no one has ever told us ‘no’ on this deal. There has just been delay after delay,” Emrich said. “It just seems to be a collective challenge.”

Teague defended the city’s position, noting that she had dealt in good faith with Emrich and that changes in the lease language had only become available to city officials at the beginning of last week.

Emrich inquired of City Attorney John Heskett what options remained available to avoid a failure of the attempt to reach an agreement.

Teague said that it would be up to the City Council to offer some approach that might salvage the situation.

Ward 3 Councilor Mark Buchanan was the first to suggest that the Council could delegate authority for working out details. He suggested delegating the resolution of issues to Teague, Heskett and Tolson.

Teague said that the proposed agreement, in its form, appeared beneficial.

“I am comfortable with it,” she said.

Before the vote on the agreement, Tolson said he thought the Council wanted and needed to be business-friendly. He questioned Emrich about whether anyone had been antagonistic toward her efforts.

“It’s never anybody directly objecting, it’s just mysterious roadblocks that are not attributable to any one individual,” Emrich said.

After the Council voted to approve the agreement as to form and delegate the details to Teague, several friends and supporters of Emrich applauded.

“Welcome to Pawhuska,” rancher Ron Reed told Emrich.