Letter: Cottonwood Airport needs to pay for itself
It will probably come as no surprise to most Cottonwood residents that our city owned airport does not produce enough revenues to cover its operating costs.
In my last letter I suggested that airport users should pay to use the airport much like recreation center users pay to use the recreation center.
There is an informative publication on the FAA website that speaks to the city’s right, obligation even, to charge user fees to help make the airport financially self-sustaining.
The following quotes are from FAA Order 5190.6B which sets forth policies and procedures of the FAA Airport Compliance Program for airport owners (aka sponsors) who have obtained federal funds for airport purposes:
Chapter 1.7: “Airports should be operated efficiently both for aeronautical users and the government, relying primarily on user fees and placing minimal burden on the general revenues of the local, state, and federal governments.”
Chapter 9.3: “The sponsor may use direct charges (such as landing and tie-down fees) to charge aeronautical users for use of airport facilities.”
Chapter 17.5: “Airports must maintain a fee and rental structure that makes the airport as financially self-sustaining as possible under the particular circumstances at that airport.”
Chapter 18.2a: “The Rates and Charges Policy provides comprehensive guidance on the legal requirement that airport fees be fair, reasonable, and not unjustly discriminatory.”
Chapter18.6a: “The sponsor may impose a fee unilaterally, after consultation with users, if the fee is fully consistent with the Rates and Charges Policy.”
Chapter 18.6c: “In the absence of an agreement, sponsors may act in accordance with their proposed rate changes without prior review or approval by FAA.”
Chapter 18.8b: “Sponsors may set fees by ordinance, statute, resolution, regulation, or agreement.”
Chapter 9.1e: “The FAA does not normally review airport fees or question the fairness or comparability of the sponsor’s rates, fees, and rental structure.”
Judging from comments made at last Saturday’s meeting at the Cottonwood Library hosted by council members Jackie Nairn and Michael Mathews and Deputy City Manager Rudy Rodriguez there is broad public consensus to impose landing fees. It seems to me that the city clearly has the right and perhaps the obligation to do so.