Airport relocation opponents are rallying their troops for Wednesday’s airport referendum vote. They've placed a newspaper ad explaining why you should vote against relocation, but airport relocation supporters say the ad is misleading.
Friends of PFN, a group opposed to relocating the Bay County International Airport, are hoping this ad in the News Herald will catch voters' attention. The ad points out that $20 million in tax money has already been spent, but airport relocation supporters say the money is coming from funds earmarked for airport development.
"We have not spent any local tax money. It comes federal and state trust funds, and a portion comes from revenue we generate here at the airport," Airport Director Randy Curtis says.
But airport relocation opponents say local people will pick up the costs associated with moving the airport.
"Who's going to pay for fire services; who's going to pay for police services. How are we going to pay for sewer and water; that comes from local taxes," Friends of PFN Chairman Frank Gorham says.
Even if the public is in favor of relocation and the FAA approves it, there's still a debate over what will happen to the current airport.
“If this airport gets sold what they plan to do is pull up all the hangers, all the grass, and lay down concrete, which will cost about $60 million, and the net money will go to the developer," Gorham says.
It's true the current airport will have to be sold to help pay for a new one, but Curtis says the picture is much brighter than Gorham's description.
"Property values have increased, and just through word of mouth we've received a number of offers from developers around the country who are interested," Curtis says.
The lines have been drawn and the message has been sent. Both men say it's now up to you the voter to decide.
Look for another ad from friends of PFN in Tuesday’s News Herald. Gorham says he's hoping voters will take notice and vote "no" when they go to the polls Tuesday.