|Airport making money, generating local support|
|By MARCIA WALKER
Salem’s airport project is moving along, perhaps not as fast as local leaders would like, but never the less moving forward.
That’s the assessment of Lowell Depoy, airport manager, who provided an update during the Monday, Oct. 1, meeting of the Washington County Council.
“You people have invested in it,” Depoy told members of the council. “That’s why I’m here … we need to communicate. We’re partners … we want to be partners with you people.”
Although it’s technically Salem’s project, the county is contributing $225,000 in Economic Development Income Tax dollars to help with the required matching funds. Two $75,000 payments have already been made.
The bulk of the price tag is being covered by funding from the FAA; cost estimates are as high as $24 million which includes the costs of a 5,000 foot runway and a new terminal building. This year, the FAA is providing $150,000 which Depoy said is being used to cover costs of utility placement for the new airport and a proposed industrial park near it. He said two people have indicated interest in that park.
And Depoy stressed the airport is self-sustaining, with income from fuel sales and rent from both hangars and office space in the terminal building. He predicted fuel sales this year would reach $65,000 and explained income will be used as match for federal and state funds. “Sometime down the road we’re going to need matching funds,” Depoy said. “We’re building that pot now.”
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