Silcox not in favor of money for airport

If Huron County Commissioner Larry Silcox has his say, the county airport won't get a nickel from the board. Silcox was out of town on vacation last week when the airport authority informally discussed sending a letter to commissioners requesting about $11,000 in advance money to purchase fuel. The airport would reimburse the commissioners as the fuel is sold. Commissioners Mike Adelman and Gary Bauer last week indicated they could live with this set-up.
Scott Seitz2
Jun 24, 2010

 

If Huron County Commissioner Larry Silcox has his say, the county airport won't get a nickel from the board.

Silcox was out of town on vacation last week when the airport authority informally discussed sending a letter to commissioners requesting about $11,000 in advance money to purchase fuel. The airport would reimburse the commissioners as the fuel is sold.

Commissioners Mike Adelman and Gary Bauer last week indicated they could live with this set-up.

Silcox said Monday the commissioners loaned the airport $100,000 in 1997. This is why he is opposed to a new advance of funds.

"I don't believe they have ever made one payment," Silcox said. "They were supposed to pay $843 per month over 15 years. I know for sure, in the last nine years, they have not made one payment."

Silcox said the commissioners have some tough decisions ahead regarding the airport.

"With what we have invested out there, if it does close, how do we recover our investment?" Silcox said.

"The economy is tough, do we really have the $11,000 to give them," he said. "I'm not in favor of giving them the $11,000. We still have employees at 36 hours. That should be our first priority, restoring that Friday afternoon service."

Silcox said there are questions to be answered.

"How much is the airport really used?" he said.

"What effect does it have on the local economy?" he added.

"How much is it used by local business and industry?"

"If we close it and sell the property, would that help the economy and bring in more money than the airport brings in?" Silcox said.

"The bottom line is they project $100,000 in fuel sales for the year and as of early June they are at $16,000," he said.

"I hate to lose the airport, but I don't know we have the money to continue to support it," he said. "If the airport is only going to make $2,000 or $3,000 on that $11,000 is that worth it?

"And then there is an issue with maintenance on the big hangar, who is going to pay for that?" Silcox said.

The airport nearly secured an extra $8,000 from Summit Motorsports Park to allow the raceway to use the airport land as an exit during big events, but that deal fell through.

"That doesn't thrill me at all," Silcox said. "And then we had a long lease with the tenant at the big hangar and switched to make it month to month and they ended up leaving. The decisions that have been made, I'm not happy with the overall scheme of things.

"I'm not trying to second guess, but when you look at the overall financial picture..." Silcox said.