Pella Chronicle

April 11, 2013

Not sure if airport is needed

The Chronicle

Pella — To the editor,

Now that the voting has been completed and a bit of excitement fills the air with plans for Pella's School renovations and the new proposed Lincoln facility, another issue needs to be addressed.

It is time to take notice of what plans have been taking place while the residents of both Pella and Oskaloosa have been quietly lulled to sleep. Minimal public notification has been happening in both Pella and Oskaloosa as well as Mahaska County. Some people within the two communities feel there is a need for a new regional airport. With less need of corporate travel within the Pella area due to increased usage of internet meetings and communications there is less need for an enlarged airport. There has been an increase in commercial air line travel since the operational costs for planes with private ownership has increased.

It would appear that moving ahead with this great capital expenditure is not a wise decision. Pella and Oskaloosa residents will be saddled by taxation without representation at this time because of no allowable public input or vote. The cost may escalate up to a taxation base of .27 per $1,000 of assessed valuation on your taxed property of both communities. If this is what you want Mr. tax payer, just let nature take its course and let the chips fall and do not get involved.

The scope is much larger than you just sitting back and not getting involved, it has to do with owners of the best agricultural land that Iowa has to offer needing to come out of production for the new facility. This picture is NOT right if we are to be good stewards of the land entitled to us. In the past Knoxville had offered to join with Pella and Pella declined because they did not want to travel in that direction. The current Oskaloosa airport is the only presently known airport operating in Iowa at a profit because the additional agricultural land is being rented out for crop production. This appears to be a poor business decision to shut down a profitable site because we like the smell of new.

It is past time when the taxpayer needs to become involved with major projects as this. Voting should be just like the school bond issue that Pella just voted on and passed. I don't have a problem with the results of the public having a vote if there is a willing seller in the market place without EMINENT DOMAIN TAKING PLACE. For those of you who do not know what that means, the governing body can take from you your private property and livlihood for public use with just compensation. The ag market is not like the housing market where you can move 1 block or 10 miles to find something to replace what you have. You cannot produce more prime Iowa land.

I can remember when our leaders were all pumped up about an "Earth Park". I realize hind site is 20/20. Would that have been a disaster with the present state of our economy? Guess who would have paid for that. That's right, you who are reading this article and paying property taxes. Our United States is not in a good financial position. Why do our local leaders think it's just OK to use Federal monies (that will not pay for a large portion of a new air port) and Local tax monies because it's something only a few want. It's time for you to get involved.

Jon De Nooy