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My View on the Charlotte Airport


*This piece submitted by Jay Privette, a Republican candidate for Charlotte City Council in District 7.

It looks like Douglas Airport will now be managed by a regional authority. My first choice would have been be to sell the airport to a private company. People with their own skin in the game will do a much better job of managing any enterprise. The profits would then be taxable. My last choice would be to keep the airport in Charlotte’s possession after Jerry Orr retires. Please let me explain.

There is supposedly a firewall between Charlotte and the airport that prevents money from moving from the airport to the city. That raises the question of why Charlotte is fighting so hard to keep the airport.  The airport is the most profitable property the city owns (thank you Mr. Orr), yet next to Water and Sewer it carries the highest debt of any of Charlotte’s properties. WHY?  It could be connected to the fact Charlotte Douglas Airport is somewhat unique among city properties because it can sell bonds without voter approval.

Eighty percent of the passengers that fly into Charlotte Douglas do so only to change planes. Jerry Orr recognizes that fact and made Charlotte Airport a very successful hub by keeping landing and takeoff fees very low. If Jerry raised fees, the airlines would have little incentive to stay.

Because of NC’s new restrictive annexation laws, Charlotte can no longer count on annexation to expand its tax base.  Charlotte still can’t withdraw from its spending addictions, and the airport is a potential cash cow. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to suspect Charlotte has already found leaks in the firewall that has allowed it to sink taxpayers into greater debt without paying a price at the polls. Now those leaks could become a river, forcing Charlotte to raise airport fees.  If that happens, good-bye airport.

There is always the possibility Charlotte will properly manage the airport after Jerry Orr retires. WHO AM I KIDDING?! The state, and even former mayor Pat McCrory, knows that’s not going to happen.

You deserve a represent that doesn’t speak in confusing platitudes. Your representative should be clear where he stands on issues. I will always strive to put the interests of the citizens before that of any political affiliation.

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