LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - Closing airport tower would be mistake

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The question was raised at the last Port of Walla Walla meeting if the Port could continue to fund the Control Tower.

Last November the statement from the Port stated, "The Port will not increase its regular property tax levy for 2012. The agency expects to receive additional revenue from new construction, property improvements, new wind turbines and increased value of state assessed property, among other things."

Then last month the Port hired a project manager at a salary of $62,400 a year. This was to relieve the executive director's workload. Understandable due to the work/social demands.

The last meeting of the Port brought up closing the control tower by Commissioner Mike Fredrickson. It was stated in the meeting the current cost is $78,000. Why the control tower seems to be less important than an airport terminal parking lot expansion of 46 new stalls at $137,700 is beyond me. Air safety vs. excess parking?

Lastly, I'd like to try to address the port director's comment about Alaska Air bringing $400,000 to the community. That is true. But the employees of the control tower bring well over $250,000 to the community in salaries that stay in this community. This mostly comes from the federal government.

So for every $78,000 the Port pays, the community gets a 300 percent return on every dollar plus air safety. Commissioner Fredrickson and Director Jim Kuntz should think about it.

I hear Arizona is nice this time of year.

John Crane

College Place

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