By Clara Glendale | Beacon Reports
The Bass Lake Town Council this week approved by a large margin the purchase of a community helicopter.
Although a specific need for a community helicopter was never discussed, council members voted overwhelmingly and with little debate to fork over some $240,000 for a Schweizer 269C-1.
Also omitted from the non-debate was under whose control the chopper would reside.
When asked, following the vote, why Bass Lake, a community of some 6,000 residents, needs a helicopter, councilman Enos Felger (D-Dave’s House) responded with a question.
“Who doesn’t need a helicopter?” Felger said. “They’re freaking awesome.”
A recent peek into town coffers revealed a surplus of $574,436, most of which came from the disputed leasing of the lake to a group of investors from drought-stricken Sub-Saharan Africa. At the time of that deal, council members vowed to use the funds to rebuild infrastructure such as sidewalks, roads and sewers and for removal of the Bass Lake public access site.
Mayor Delores Denominator said the helicopter will pay for itself.
“Hello? Haven’t you ever seen what they charge for helicopter rides at fairs and stuff?” Denominator said. “And just think of the publicity!”
Bass Lake Police Authority Chief Gwen “Tug” McNabb, however, said control of the helicopter should rest with him.
“Policing work is more important than sight-seeing and kiddie rides,” McNabb said. “With that chopper we can surveil like nobody’s business.”
Delivery of the helicopter, which was purchased from some guy in Prague in the Czech Republic, is expected by late summer, once the check clears, Felger said.