After listening to the Airport Advisory Committee meetings, we see where the town wants to reduce their contribution to our airport by 20 percent. The goal set by the FAA is to make the airport as "self-sustaining as possible."
According to the Payson Roundup article dated May 31, 2005, the town council decided a $1.7-million grant from the Federal Aviation Administration was too good to pass up. The mayor said the FAA mandated that the property be used for airport-related purposes and that all money generated from it goes to the airport fund.
After reading this, it seems the airport is well on its way to being totally self-sustaining.
According to Airport Manager Ted Anderson, however, he had to think "outside the box" to reduce the town's financial obligation, which included increasing fees, building new office space, and hiring two new town employees.
Why not reduce expenses, bring in more income and keep fees low?
Instead of hiring a clerical employee, how about a volunteer program? Instead of larger office space, how about a volunteer who is a whiz at organization? Mr. Anderson wants to hire a maintenance worker. Why do we need another full-time employee if the land given to the town yard was to help maintain the airport?
Higher fees could lead to a poor business climate when Payson is trying to attract high-tech businesses. The town invests in the Payson Regional Economic Development Corporation to bring in new business, while discouraging any new businesses that might use the airport. The fees charged at our airport should compare with other airports similar ours, such as Cottownwood.
Some fees are geared toward commercial aircraft. The suggested $5 fee for the few that would be charged seems inconsequential when it discourages business. These commercial flights are picking up or dropping off goods to the Payson community. That means these businesses will pass on the fees to the Payson residents using these services. We also noticed there was no mention of a rate increase of any kind to the town for property to occupy. Has anyone looked into the going rate lately?
The town has admitted that the airport brings in more than $8 million to our community. Along with the $ 1.7 million airport is bringing in this year from the FAA, how much more will it take to be good for the town of Payson? As they say, please don't kill the golden goose. As Payson residents, we would like to see the Payson Municipal Airport grow and prosper, along with the economic growth of the town of Payson.
Gary and Rosemary Reed, Payson