Letter | City Council needs to stay out of the airport business
Your City Council is spending millions it does not have. It wants two interchanges and a crossing. It wants to own the airport, which is now considered a utility. It wants to control the industrial park. It wants to “fix” all the runways.
Let me tell you what’s wrong with this picture. More than $100 million will have to be spent to do this interchange process. Council raised taxes to do that.
The airport as a utility cannot generate money for anything other than the utility. Meaning that money it does get cannot be used for anything but the airport.
The City must go through training to become FAA certified. Lengthy and costly it is to train City personnel to operate this airport.
I would hazard a guess that the City will have to start over with the federal government to fix the dross site, a short way of saying a site that has had large amounts of aluminum and titanium slag buried 21-feet below some of those cracks in the runway and taxiways.
Gas perks up causing mounds of earth to rise every time it rains. Some of the gas domes I saw were nearly four feet at their apexes. You can’t resurface it; anything that is done will absolve the federal government of cleaning up its own mess.
The City seems unaware that its Parks and Recreation Department have been taking students to tour the airport for years, and yet, that is City isn’t it?
City Council is also unaware that the cracks can only be filled when they are at their widest, which is when temperatures are cold. It is a special mix of asphalt that is specifically made for a three-wheeled touchdown and heavy tonnage. It contracts and expands much more than typical roads. The sealant is made shallow so when the asphalt warms up and expands there is not a huge ridge that is too sharp for the aircraft.
You can’t chip and seal runways. We have all experienced how well City Council has empowered Public Works to maintain our roads.
The industrial park has its own challenges. There are regulations that you have to follow, such as railroad and aviation. Some industrial applications will not be conducive to place near either of them. Also, there is only 3 percent unused occupancy currently with existing structures.
Overall, a $2 million minimum must be kept in reserve for repairs and grants for improvements. There are no free government grants. All grants are now matching grants, so to receive $1 million in grants you must prove you have $1 million to match and prove to the penny how that $2 million will be spent. None of that $2 million can go toward the feasibility study the government requires.
Our City employees know this, but it seems like Council does not.
We have many needs: public safety, road repairs and paving, and sewer-main line installation. The list goes on.
We must meet our needs before our wants.