On November 5, 2016, the First Annual "KNOW YOUR AIRPORT DAY" was nothing more than a political effort to try to convince voters not to vote for the guys who want to return $6.8 Million Dollars to the community. The Airport Board chose November 5th a saturday, 3 days before the general election where citizens would vote for candidates for the Airport Board. California GOVERNMENT CODE SECTION 54964-54964.6 indicates that government entities are strictly prohibited from using public resources for political advocacy.
A feature attraction at Airport Day was a half a million dollar "snowblower" . Before $500K was wasted on the purchase of this huge snowblower which by way the National Weather service statistics showed is needed by our airport once every 6 to 7 years, the Lake Tahoe airport offered the Big Bear Airport their machine FREE. Estimates to bring the machine to like new status were $50K to $75K. A local commercial heavy equipment expert testified to the Airport board of directors that it was not necessary to buy a new machine for $500K citing that he had lines of "hundreds" of the same model machines with less than 10 hours use for "pennies on the dollar". So the airport is saddled with a $500k anchor that in four years has had less than 20 hours use, and the majority of that is "training time". Incidentally the National Weather service records indicate we've not had a storm and snow accumulation great (deep) enough to use such a machine. So we have an approx. $60K annual depreciation on a machine that is nothing more than a toy and financial burden.
The airport board are so desperate to hide their wrongdoing, it's been reported by witnesses that attended the Saturday event that two young ladies were assaulted by board member Joe Kelly because he didn't want them at the airport (a public facility) handing out flyers for their candidates, again it's been reported (I have not confirmed what actually happened) that Kelly hit one of the girls knocking a telephone out of her hand. 'If true' that's assault and battery by an airport board member. I do know the ladies are filing a police report and are contacting an attorney.
Regarding the unneeded $6.8 Million dollars reserve the airport board are desperately trying to shield by making it appear the money is needed for airport "PROJECTS". One boon dog they are trying to sell the uneducated is a claim they need a 100K gallon fuel dump for Jet A. First, they have never run out of Jet A since I started flying into Big Bear in 1977 when I moved to California almost 39 years ago. I've been a commercial pilot for almost 50 years, I flew professionally as a young man, I managed a rather large Fixed Base Operators (FBO) at Hanscom Field, Bedford MA. (http://www.hanscom.af.mil ) Where I learned facts of airport business dealings and air operations. The airport board claims its fuel dump is critically important to safety/fire air operations. A flat out lie, all one has to do is call CAL Fire Air Operations to learn that they take their own fuel with them because they get it at close to cost, so they don't buy fuel here when they are here, except for possibly a few hundred gallons fill up until their tanker arrives. So the airport building a 100K fuel dump for "SAFETY" is b.s.
Over all not many people know that almost all U.S. airport projects are 90% funded by the Federal Aviation Administration, (FAA) in a program called AIP Funding (Airport Improvement Projects). Plus the State of California aeronautics Div. kicks in another 5%. So let's say for example the airport wants to build a 100K gallon fuel dump and it's going to cost $1 Million dollars....the FAA pays $900K the State of California pays $50K and the Big Bear Airport has to come up with only $50K for a $1 Million dollar project. But it gets even better, the FAA in addition to supplying AIP funding, also allows for what they call a project management fee to be charged to the FAA by the airport receiving the AIP funds, so in fact in many cases the 'allowed management fee' is greater than the participating airports share of the project costs, so an airport can actually come out of a project with more money than they had on hand before they began the project. If the money is needed for these so called necessary projects, then why has the Airport Board been hoarding taxpayer dollars for over 10 years while the pot continued to grow at the rate of from $500K to almost $1 million annually? Per audited financial reports. They claim they are saving the money for big projects. The largest Airport Projects costs are for repaving the runways and taxiways. They have been paved twice in the last ten years with the likelihood all costs were paid as stated above by the FAA and the state.
Airport management cronies have been lying to the community for years and until now we have allowed them to get away with it.
by Joe Logan, email@example.com. Edited by Joe Nix for clarity and html formatted to put on this page.
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