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UPDATE: Airport fund will be moved to general fund

The Airport Fund for Leesburg Executive Airport will be moving to the town’s General Fund with a 5-1-1 vote with Council member Terry Titus dissenting and Council member Tom Dunn abstaining during their Jan. 24 council meeting.

“I’m confident that we’re still going to have that visibility and accountability of the airport to the citizens,” Vice Mayor Kevin Wright said.

Town Manager John Wells proposed the idea to council at their Jan. 23 work session leaving some members up-in-arms about moving the funds to a different part of the town’s finances in order to compensate for debt the airport is facing.

“Since all funds are included in town consolidated financial statements and reports, transferring the Leesburg Executive Airport to the General Fund and airport capital projects to the Capital Projects Fund has no impact on the town’s overall financial condition,” town documents stated.

According to documents, the transfer would increase the fund revenue, appropriation, expenditures, grands, liabilities, receivables, debt service, assets and depreciation. Also, the $3 million in loans and advances to the Airport Fund would be eliminated.

“We can take that $3 million of taxpayer money and do something useful with it,” Council member Dave Butler said. Council member Katie Hammler echoed Butler’s view.

“This does not have a negative impact, in fact it has positive impact on the budget,” Wells said.

The transfer would better manage the town’s budget, get more accurate reporting of the town’s budget in regards to the airport, Wells said.

“It’s going to reduce the overhead expenses,” Wells continued. “We’re going to maintain the visibility of the airport with the reporting of its revenue.”

But council members were not on board with Wells’ plan.

“Instead of the focus on the airport and its debts, and it should be paying of itself, and shinning the light on the general fund. I think that does effect the taxpayers,” Council member Tom Dunn said. “I think it goes back to the responsibility of government and I’d like to see it stay a enterprise instead of on the taxpayers. I’d rather see it stay as an enterprise zone and it needs to pay for it’s own bills.”

The Airport Fund was established as an enterprise fund by council in 1965 in order to account separately for all operating, investing and financing for airport operations and capital improvements projects, documents said.

In the past, the Airport Fund revenues and grants have been insufficient to pay for daily operations and the debt service for capital projects to maintain and improve airport infrastructure, according to documents. The documents also said that the town doesn’t see that the Airport Fund will be able to meet its financial obligations and pay debt service in the foreseeable future.

Butler felt the proposition made Leesburg seem more like a business than a government.

“I don’t want us to fall into the trap that we are a business, because we’re not,” Butler said. “It’s not sufficient to take the revenue that comes back to the town. If we make an investment into an airport, I don’t care if we make any fees or not.”

Comments


Why spend the 3 million pay down a debt instead?


I have to say, Tim Shea, you really don’t know what you are talking about.  of course, you may be at a disadvantage, since the article does a poor job on all the facts, but the ‘other’ paper shows that all fed agencies were not only in agreement, but suggested the idea as part of planning for this.


The City needs to check with the FAA before they do this. If the airport accepts any federal Airport Improvement Project grants, then the airport is required by FAA to be an enterprise fund and all monies generated by, or received by the airport, must stay at the airport.


A product of the “texting generation”—nothing is proofread and grammar standards absolved:

“transferring the airport to the General Fund and airport capital projects to the Capital Projects funds has no impact”—try “have”

“shinning” - try “shining”

“that does not effect the taxpayer”—try “affect”


I seems that if Katie “Stamped Stupid” Hammler can figure it out, it’s pretty straight forward.  The really FUNNY thing is that Tom “The Accountant” Dunn proved that he’s even dumber than Katie Hammler, since he could not figure out anything on this.


Dave Butler’s comments sound like voodoo economics, to use President George H. W. Bush’s phrase.


@DaveBulter - next you will tell me the way the Town, County and Commonwelath of Virginia accounts for their pension liabilities is sound.


@ALeesburgResident - What we’re trying to do is undo a bogus accounting requirement.  Since the airport fund was an enterprise fund, we needed to have $3M in the bank doing nothing.  No particular reason, except a new accounting regulation.  By moving it into the General Fund, we can use that $3M to pay down debt instead.  We no longer need to just have it sitting there.

Is this change all due to accounting?  Yes.  Is it a trick?  No, it’s just a way to get around an unnecessary regulation.


Why did Tom Dunn abstain?  It makes no sense.


From Leesburg Today:  “It will not change or impact the tax rate,” Wells emphasized. “The items listed as depreciable assets in the Airport Fund will become part of the General Fund. The net result will be the General Fund in and of itself will increase.”

This is an accounting trick!


Poorly written.  Keep the Airport Fund separate.


Definitely misleading.  The proposition makes the airport LESS like a business, which I’m ok with.  It’s not necessary to recover the cost 100% in fees to make the airport a good deal for the Town and County.


Councilman Titus also objected to Town Manager Wells’ proposal.

Councilman Butler is reported to have said that “If we make an investment into an airport, I don’t care if we make any fees or not.”  That’s no investment; it’s a subsidy.


Bad title.  The whole Town Council isn’t opposed, it’s just Tom Dunn.  Butler doesn’t seem to be against it.  You’ll know where the Council as a whole stands on this after they vote on it.

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