Red Deer County agrees to five-year airport funding
Red Deer County has agreed to a new five-year funding deal with Red Deer Regional Airport.
During council meeting April 10, council agreed to provide 65 per cent of the annual municipal property taxes to be reinvested into the Red Deer Regional Airport with a cap of $200,000 that once reached, would automatically reopen the agreement. This year’s portion, based on 2011 assessment and tax rates, is $169,335. The 2012 budget includes an amount of $170,000.
“I think the five-year agreement lets them have stability,” said Div. 3 Coun. Penny Archibald, who moved to accept the agreement.
In 2004 the county entered a similar five-year funding agreement. When it expired in 2009, council approved a one-year agreement with a fixed amount of $119,000. It was renewed again in 2010 and 2011 at a rate of $119,000 plus an additional amount of $30,000 for staffing.
Div. 2 Coun. Don Nesbitt questioned the county’s role in providing “the lion’s share.” He said county council is investing more per capita than the City of Red Deer with its $179,000 contribution.
“We have a population of about 20,000 versus their 80,000. It seems disproportionate.”
Mayor Jim Wood said the airport is in the county’s jurisdiction and said the funding is important if it means helping the region flourish. “The city’s investment is helping our region.”
Div. 4 Coun. David Hoar said that while the county will benefit from the investment if it results in growth and develops the county’s tax base, “there is always interest in that facility gaining money from us. Somehow, eventually we need to be more businesslike and cut the purse strings,” he said.
Ric Henderson, assistant county manager for Red Deer County, said the idea is eventually the airport can act on its own and not need the county’s support down the road.
Council approved the funding agreement with Nesbitt opposed.