[Note: The following letter is a rebuttal to Chuck Harrison’s letter published on March 4, in response to Scott Bachowski’s first letter published Feb. 26]
My “facts” are accurate as detailed on the www.wisconsindot.gov website in a document titled “Wisconsin Airports Rates & Charges Report.” I was referred to this document by a hangar owner.
I, like you, would like to see Chetek become part of the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS). However, you, as a prior airport manager, know better than anyone that it would’ve taken thousands of dollars to become compliant to meet the requirements of the NPIAS. According to 2010 NPIAS records, the price tag of becoming compliant would have been in the $2 million range, of which the city would’ve had to pay about 10 percent of that after federal and state grants. The decision then was not to get into the federal program. Thus, we missed out to save an additional 10–15 percent in grant funding for the runway resurfacing project. So the 20-percent cost share still remains on the backs of the taxpayers.
It’s difficult to compare apples to oranges. The Rice Lake airport receives an annual maintenance stipend from the feds of $150,000 and I assume Boyceville receives an annual stipend as well since they are in the NPIAS. We receive zero federal dollars. I wish we did receive an annual federal stipend.
Sounds like we have similar thoughts regarding the airport. Maybe we should all work together and try to improve our situation. Maybe the solution is to become part of the NPIAS.
Additionally, the investments made by the city over the past few years are for the good of the whole community. Even with these investments, city property taxes decreased 7.5 percent on average, including hangars. The Chetek Common Council has not raised the tax levy in three years. As these investments develop, our assessed city value increases and our taxes decrease.