Thursday, February 02, 2012

Airport Funding for Southland Field and DeQuincy Airport

Lake Charles, LA (AP) -  Chennault's Board of Commissioners voted on Thursday to unanimously extend its annual support of Southland Field and the DeQuincy airport for another 10 years. It also agreed to negotiate, within the next 90 days, possible increases in the funding for those airports.

"Taxes will not go up if those airports get more money. The airports will get a largely percentage of Chennault funds", said Anthony Ware, Deputy Director of Chennault International Airport.

Chennault International Airport's economic development efforts are funded by a 10-year, 5.45-mill property tax in Calcasieu Parish.

Chennault officials said that its main mission is jobs. About 1,500 people work for the companies at the airport, for an annual payroll of $62.7 million.

On March 24, voters in Calcasieu Parish will have the chance to renew the current millage for another 10 years by way of voting. The ballot item will not be a new tax or a tax increase. It's the same level as the original 10-year tax.

Support of local people and governments is being gathered in advance of the renewal. The Lake Charles City Council has already passed a resolution in support of the renewal. The Sulphur City Council will be asked to do the same. Also, a number of area officials have already voiced their support for the renewal.

Chennault funds about 90 percent of the operating budgets of both Southland Field in Sulphur and DeQuincy Airpark's airport. Each year, Chennault gives $200,000 to Southland Field and $100,000 to DeQuincy Airport.

The current millage will expire in 2015. If Calcasieu Parish voters approve the renewal in the March 24 election, it will go into effect in 2016. Any funding increases to the other airports would go into effect in 2016.

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