We have seen a lot of changes in Oakdale: staff, council and contractors.
Now that the loss of more than $2 million to lawsuits, overpaid managers, sweet departure deals, stupid investments and incompetence has been uncovered, it is time to get the city running on sound fiscal footing.
This includes the operation of the airport a long misused, misguided operation.
The airport was charged more than $50,000 per year for management. The airport sits as a dusty, deteriorating, marginal facility. Special interests use this devalued site, pay very little rent, and offer no taxable products or services.
The runway alone would cost more than $10 million to construct today, and the land would be worth $1 million if turned into commercial or residential sites. But the FAA has invested many millions in the facility, and a cash-strapped city can never repay that investment to shut it down.
So where do we go from here? Place some bona fide aviation-related operations at proper rents in the existing buildings. Attract aircraft from other airports to come for repairs or inspection. Provide facilities for federal, state or county law enforcement aircraft. Provide a medical helicopter operation.
Those who hate the airport cannot remove this facility. Let's make it perform like other small airports around us, generating two or three times the current revenue. Oakdale needs new businesses; put them at the airport.
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association