This letter is in response to the Pinnacle article ?Whose airport is it anyway? dated January 4, 2008. Many statements in this article attributed to the Airport Manager, City Manager and Financial representative are simply not true, others not accurate or misleading. The article started with ?cracked pavement and hangars in various states of despair.? The buildings in ?despair? are the old Navy buildings, not hangars that were at the airport when given to the City some 50 years ago. They were never maintained by the City. The crack pavement mentioned is the result of no FAA Grants received for repairs in the past 3+ years. There are two types of FAA Grants ? Entitlement and Discretionary. Entitlement grants of $150,000/year are there for the asking for urgently needed repairs or other eligible improvements. They can accumulate for 3 years. (Use or lose up to $450,000). The $427,500 Entitlement grant recently received is for urgently needed repairs as a result if an FAA airport inspection 3 years ago. The mentioned $450,000 Fence grant was already in place when manager Gere started in 2004.
Regarding Airport deficits: Mr. Galvan, City Finance Director commented ?the deficit goes back to 2002-2003?. That year, there was a step increase in Airport revenue (almost double) of approximately $221,000 due to new T hangars, and a 30% increase in all T hangar rents. Since then, hangar rents have increased per the CPI Index (Resolution 2002-193 Adopted Sept. 15, 2002). This is in contrast to the City Manager?s statement ?the rents have not been increased in several years.? Hangar rents now range from $290 to $2140 per month, depending on size and type. These are not ?cheap rents?.
Discounting non operational or non airport related expenses from 2003 to 2007, there should be a substantial Airport Enterprise fund surplus. An example of a non related expense is the Elks Lodge roof repair and replacement in 2005/2006 at a cost of approximately $197,600 from airport funds, according to documents from the City Finance Department. The Elks Lodge located on the airport has no aviation related function and pays minimal rent.
Comments on ?most people we are giving breaks to? from the Airport Manager, referring to tenants that do not live in the area. These tenants, as well as local tenants, pay hangar rent, personal property tax on their airplanes, and possessory interest tax on the hangars they rent. All of this is a contribution to the local economy. What is wrong with that? Without these ?outside? tenants, many hangars would be empty.
There has been much public discussion regarding the potential of the airport including a Jet center development, or a combined development including the CDF and a smaller Jet center development. Tenants are all for future development such as this, but would also like to see some airport history preserved. Managed and developed properly, there is room for all and the Hollister Airport will achieve its full potential.
Fred W. Meyer, Hollister Airport Tenant
Editor’s Note: To read the article this response was written for go to the web site.