Letter to the editor- What are the real numbers
To the editor:
I would like to respond to the guest opinion submitted by Mr. Bob Boone, airport commissioner. In his article, he claims to have the figures that prove that South Lake Tahoe needs an airport. I would like to know the figures that he also “chose to ignore.” I don’t know exact numbers and I challenge the Airport Commission or the city manager to print a breakdown in the paper to keep the public, which can’t make their meetings, informed.
The first number would be the amount that the airport is currently over budget most of the way through the 2000/01 budget. I’ll make a random prediction that the amount that the airport ends the fiscal year over budget, would be enough to double the current city contributions of $81,293 distributed to local nonprofit organizations. Where is the money doing the most good for the community as a whole? In allowing a vacant airport to run randomly over budget or in doubling the amount given to nonprofits, which have direct and tangible results within the community.
The second number is how far short are they actually going to be from the budgeted revenues the airport is supposed to generate for the city. Unfortunately, we must wait for the end of this fiscal year for this figure, but any shortfall comes down to hurting the city as a whole. By taking more than their allotted share and by not holding to their fiscal responsibility, they become a less-than-desirable member of the city family. The airport’s actions certainly are not helping the city through its current fiscal squeeze.
The third number is $17,000. That figure represents the city’s 10 percent share of yet another FAA handout to do temporary repairs on our dangerous runway. Luckily, they have to go before the City Council on Aug. 7 to ask for the money. While the council has the 3-2 voting power to rule out the airport-loving Brown-Davis twosome (a power I have seen them use more frequently), I think that they will give the money if it’s available. At least I will get to watch them grovel for it first. Besides, it makes sense spending $17,000 doing it right and possibly have it last a few years. The alternative is to go over budget an extra $10,000 to fill the cracks with tar, which is not the preferred way of repair.
I would like to close by welcoming the new airport manager, Mr. Mike Dikun, to town. I got a chance to watch him in action at the July 24 Airport Commission meeting. He seems very knowledgeable in running small town airports and current aviation regulations. I especially enjoyed when he shattered a long-time dream of the Commission; their desire to form a joint airport authority. It is not possible because we have no navigable waterways. We can form a district, and I must admit that I do not know which is better or worse. Perhaps someone could enlighten the public on the differences.
My only advice to Mr. Dikun would be this: Although you preach the airport party line of quieter regional jets, attracting a commercial carrier, and an always-decreasing figure of economic impact to the community, don’t start blaming other agencies or restrictions for the airport’s shortcomings. All you have to do is the job you accepted with all of these challenges already in place. Attract a commercial air carrier with economical flights to the Bay Area and L.A. The simplest advice is the most obvious one – just make money and get the tourists here. With a commission full of some of South Shore’s most successful businessmen, Mr. Dikun has some esteemed colleagues from whom he can seek advice. We can only hope that some of the hard work and expertise that made these men successful will rub off on the airport.
Stephen C. Reinhard
South Lake Tahoe
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