The recent articles, along with a letter to the editor concerning the newly-adopted airport hangar leases, gave the impression to the reader that the citizens of Boulder City are being cheated out of potential airport revenue.
Nothing could be further from the truth, and, unfortunately, the author did not explain how airport fees are correctly administered. Unlike a golf course, solar, or gun club leases, the airport is a different kind of entity due to the administrative guidelines required by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration). Most of the revenue collected goes directly into the city’s General Fund when the land under a golf course is leased.
The solar leases are another excellent example of that. Almost all the money collected from those leases also goes directly into the General Fund.
The same is valid with the gun club. If anyone should question anything, it would be with the gun club – $1 a year for 550 acres? Really? Can we double it and get $2? But that’s another issue.
The bottom line is that the city does not get a nickel of revenue from the hangar leases.
All hangar revenue goes to the Airport Fund to pay for the airport’s security, maintenance, and operation. Federal funds also assist in the funding of the airport as well.
So, it begs the question: Why is anyone concerned about the hangar leases other than the owners and tenants who pay for them? The concern should more adequately be: Is our local airport sufficiently funded to provide a safe and secure environment? Are the FAA standards being amply met? If so, there should be no concern. If not, we must look at the income revenue to ensure it keeps up with the expenses.
The airport MUST be self-sufficient. It is essential to understand that even if the city were to triple the land leases at the airport, the city’s General Fund would not see any revenue. The same would be true if the city took ownership of the hangars or extended the leases.
None of this was mentioned in the article. Also not mentioned is that the city manager assured the council that the airport was fully funded. If an increase in revenue is required and/or the waiting list for hangar occupancy is unusually high, the city should consider leasing more land for private hangar construction.
Another consideration is an overfunded airport account and the risk of growing the airport and attracting larger private jets. This is a scenario that most of the pilot community is firmly against, along with being adamantly opposed to a control tower. Do we really want to be another Henderson? So, be careful what you wish for.
The article also questions campaign donations to city council members and the mayor, especially contributions from those associated with the airport. Donating to anyone seeking a position on the City Council, mayor, or governor is nothing illegal or unethical.
For example, someone interested in a new dog park would likely want a pro-dog park individual on the council. That person may like to donate to their campaign to help that individual get elected.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with that; it happens all the time.
Finally, the stereotypical notion that all airplane owners are millionaires is ridiculous. Aircraft ownership is not necessarily an endeavor for the wealthy only.
Many aircraft owners are hard-working individuals who have spent less on an airplane than most spend on a used car. I know because I am one of them.
The bottom line is there is no monetary advantage to this city or the citizens of this city to gain ownership or increase ground lease rates for the hangars.
Why a concerted effort to question the council’s decision on this boggles the mind.