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Home arrow Opinion arrow Editorials arrow Support the airport levy


Support the airport levy

Don't confuse the one-year tax levy for the airport with Baker Aircraft going out of business.

Don't confuse it with Baker City buying new cardlock fuel tanks and buildings at the airport.

And above all else, don't confuse a "Yes" vote on the airport levy with an endorsement of the curious but unproven proposal to invest public monies in an air taxi service.

Because the levy, which will appear on your ballot as Measure No. 01-12 "One-year special levy for airport federal grant match purposes," really asks you a simple question: should we pay a temporary, one-time tax to raise the matching funds, or take the money from current and future city and county programs?

This isn't a matter of pave or don't pave the main runway. The Federal Aviation Administration is offering Baker City more than $1 million in construction funds. All we need is a 10 percent match.

That 10 percent totals just shy of the $140,000 Measure 01-02 would raise during its one year.

Baker City and County have explored paying the match out of existing funds, but elected to ask the voters instead to approve a one-year levy.

We can't disagree with the reasoning. Both entities have had their brushes with layoffs in recent years, and there's no foreseeable end to the increasing cost of health insurance and retirement benefits for public employees. That money is best spent on police, fire and other services, or saved for a rainy day.

Still, if you live in Unity, or Huntington, or Richland, you have to wonder why you should help pay for maintenance at the Baker City Municipal Airport.

A majority of the Baker County Board of Commissioners felt strongly enough that the county's smaller communities — where they hold special meetings at least once a year — support an airport in Baker City, and an increased role in that airport for the county.

The board voted 2-1 to place the measure on the ballot.

We hope you'll join us in supporting that reasoning with a "Yes" on 01-12.


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