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April 18, 2024

Sale of the Century…

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On March 30, 2014

Letter to the Editor:

Sale of the Century at the Edgar County Airport   

Our County Board Member spoke volumes when he said, “when you get $800,000.00 in return for a $65,000.00 investment you take it”. He was of course; addressing the counties reckless spending on this project. Yes, that thing again. First, let me translate his statement into something a little more down to earth. Into, another example of reckless spending that is just as logically sound.
Old man winter has been dishing out a lot of snow and cold weather this winter. Since we’re one of his better customers, he’s offering the last few feet of snow along with his last few weeks of below zero temperatures to the county for only $65,000.00. That’s an $880,000.00 value for only $65,000.00.
Can’t argue this one, can you? It’s really a bargain! And, as we did in the airport project, let’s charge that additional $65,000.00 on our credit cards…or rather to the Edgar County taxpayers. Money spent for something that really isn’t needed and at time when the county is already deeply in debt. Some critics say, if we’re determined to blow $65 grand can’t we at least can’t we find a better way to spend that money? I would hope so, but apparently our county board hoping to avoid embarrassment and plow ahead with this bad decision and lies. Deliberate lies told, embraced and supported rather than doing the right thing. So far that’s the deal, but that could change.
Ok, so we’re talking about the airport again. Let’s start with the resident aircraft owners as principal beneficiaries to this project. At this moment, that’s somewhere between 11 to 15 plane owners. Not that many you say? Should we ask how much flying is taking place at the airport by each of these planes? No one seems to know…but if you’ve been to the airport to watch planes take off and land, you’ve probably been disappointed. You may need a schedule for that.
So what’s the deal here? First, it’s the truth: our county doesn’t have to lie on federal applications: nor should our county employees be allowed to do so. They need to be held accountable. It makes Edgar County Look bad and sets a poor example for our children…imagine that. Condoning lies: where’s the honesty and integrity in our County Board? Then there’s the other thing. It’s about doing the right thing.
So what’s the truth? In the airport’s application for funding Jimmy Wells claimed: we only have a 1,000 gallon Jet A fuel tank; that we’re selling 5,500 gallons of fuel a month; that we have 35 airplanes in residency; there are 8 on a waiting list; and here’s the biggie, a need for over 1,000 cubic yards of “something” (guess what) to park all of these 35 airplanes on and to build our tank farm on. All of that is B.S.. None of it is true. But that’s what Edgar County and Jimmy Wells claimed.
Now they claim, it’s the sale of the century. Sure it’s on sale….but really? The Division of Aeronautics represents the FAA and aviation in Illinois. It disperses FAA money. It’s a bottomless pit of taxpayer money, called federal dollars generated from aviation fuel sales, and, a well that’s never run dry. It’s always available, and contrary to this counties’ worst nightmares; this opportunity won’t be lost even if the county decided to correct the application, to withdraw the application or simply to delay it.
It’s that simple: that’s what the experts tell us. The unvarnished truth! Other than a credit card machine…something that has already been discussed by airport management for 6 or more years, not much is truly needed. But that isn’t the way it is at the moment. We now find a $25,000.00 need ballooning into $880,000.00 project only because we can do it.
Has it occurred to anyone, we could just fund the credit card machine outright, deduct it from our $65,000.00 and save the County $40,000.00? What an idea….. and the best part is, the payback would occur when the airport “fuel clerk” is retired; one who by many accounts is under-worked and over paid. Imagine that.
By Robert O. Bogue


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