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Letter: Airport lease editorial ‘facts’ are anything but

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Note: The statements, views, and opinions contained in this letter to the editor are those of the author and are not endorsed by, nor do they necessarily reflect, the opinions of The Republic.

From: Steve Fushelberger


The editorial published in the May 22 issue of The Republic was completely misleading. It also demeaned the Columbus Municipal Airport Board of Aviation Commissioners (BOAC) and management.

First, the fact that there are no public funds involved was omitted from the editorial. Columbus Municipal Airport is self-sustaining. Property taxes are not used to operate.

Second, had follow-up been done subsequent to discussion at the May 13 monthly BOAC meeting regarding the status of land lease payments by Bluffstone Development Co., it would have become known that this company was now current on both monthly lease payments and required 15 percent penalty payments.

Third, the only “bombshells” at the May 13 meeting were in someone’s imagination.

The Board of Aviation Commissioners was aware of Bluffstone being temporarily out of lease compliance and was working with airport management to rectify that situation. Even in the unlikely event that Bluffstone would actually default, the lease financial requirements remain intact. Further, the economic opportunity cost to the airport should a default actually occur is minuscule.

BOAC members are respected members of the community, are not compensated for their public service and contribute their knowledge and experience to preserve and grow an invaluable asset that generates $650 million in annual economic activity that benefits Columbus, Bartholomew County and south central Indiana. In addition to four of the five being pilots, two are business owners, one is a retired surgeon, another is an aerospace executive and the fifth a senior level electrical engineering/information technology manager. The professional airport staff is just that — accomplished and respected professionals whose accomplishments and reputations are well-known in the industry. Columbus Municipal is in excellent financial condition, continues to attract additional tenants, has numerous new projects in place and has never been in better physical shape. The assertion that BOAC members were lax or late to act is simply not accurate.

Efforts to forge nonexistent parallels with unrelated situations that have no relevancy whatsoever are a disservice to your readers. The editorial was short of correct facts and long on wrong conclusions.

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