Sun, Sept. 15

Letter to the Editor: Airport users fees encouraged by Federal Aviation Administration


For well over a year many Cottonwood city residents have been trying to get the city to take action to abate noise at the airport. The latest round of meetings took place June 26, 6 p.m., at the Cottonwood Public Safety Building.

Those of us who have been involved in the discussions and asked to be kept informed got an email announcing this meeting just one day prior.

I would not like to think that the fact that we got one day’s notice was an attempt on the part of the city to dampen citizen attendance.

That aside, the email I received had an attached agenda with a draft of the proposed airport noise abatement plan. I think the plan is good but doesn’t go far enough.

I suspect that’s because the users of the airport via the airport commission are developing the plan to serve their own interests not the taxpayers who fund the airport.

For those who don’t know it, the City of Cottonwood owns the airport. That means the airport is owned by us -- the residents of Cottonwood. It also means that we cover the costs of operating the airport because the airport does not produce enough revenues to cover its operating costs.

It seems obvious to me and many others I’ve spoken with that airport users should pay to use the airport. This would help us pay for our airport while having a side benefit of reducing excessive traffic.

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:

“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.

“The sponsor may use direct charges (such as landing and tie-down fees) to charge aeronautical users for use of airport facilities.”

Terri Clements


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