Leesburg Airport Commission to Consider Funding Partnership with County

The Leesburg Airport Commission has agreed to study options for the county government to help pay for improvements to Leesburg Executive Airport, but won’t rush into any arrangement.

The topic was on the commission’s agenda Thursday, a little over a week after Councilman Tom Dunn stirred controversy with claims that commission members wielded too much influence over the Town Council. The comments were made after the council voted to retract a request, originally suggested by Dunn, that the county help pay for planned improvements at the airport. The council initially agreed to do that, but withdrew the request when airport commissioners, who had not been consulted about the idea, objected.

Commissioners told the council that county funding could impact operations at the airport and that a full study of a potential town-county funding relationship for the airport should be looked at first.

On Thursday, that effort advanced.

Commissioners proposed the creation of a working group to study a potential funding relationship between the town and county for the airport. While historically the county has not regularly contributed to the airport, town and county leaders have acknowledged the airport’s regional economic benefit. Business at the airport is expected to grow in the coming years, with the addition of more hangar space and a U.S. Customs facility that will allow for international flights. Leesburg Executive Airport is the state’s second busiest general aviation airport, with more than 100,000 landings and take offs a year. It is estimated to have a local economic impact of $78 million, according to the airport’s 2015 annual report.

“We need to clearly define what is the relationship between the town and county over the airport,” Commission Chairman Dennis Boykin said in introducing the working group concept Thursday night.

It’s an idea that doesn’t have unanimous support among the commission, with some expressing concerns that county funding could give the county government some control of the airport’s operations. The town and county have sparred over the years over development proposals for land around the airport, as well as a push by the Board of Supervisors a decade ago to increase the personal property tax on aircraft based at the airport.

“I want nothing from the county,” Commission Vice Chairman Tom Toth said. “We are blessed in that we have our own little town, we have our own airport. We don’t need another political entity in here [messing] around with it.”

Town Manager Kaj Dentler, who attended Thursday’s meeting, suggested that, upon authorization from Town Council, members of a working group first engage County Administrator Tim Hemstreet and county Economic Development Executive Director Buddy Rizer to discuss the airport’s economic benefits to Loudoun County.

“The way to be successful is not going straight to the board [of supervisors]. It’s working with Buddy Rizer to determine the economic value of the airport. The county places significant funds into economic development but they look at the return on investment,” Dentler said.

An important first step, he said, was to frame the argument for the airport in terms of quantifying its economic value for the county, as well as determining what areas county funding or in-kind services could be beneficial.

Commissioner Tom Dunlap, who volunteered to participate in the working group along with commissioners Vaughn Allex, Eliot Danner, and Gary Rogerson, suggested that a clearly defined partnership with the county could give the town access to some key commercial partners going forward. Boykin also noted the county’s access to capital.

“We need to accelerate growth of the airport and the money has got to come from somewhere,” Commissioner Jed Babbin said.

Dentler said the working group should wrap up its work by the summer to give the town time to draw up a Memorandum of Understanding for a partnership between the town and county, if that turns out to be the desired next step.

Following his comments at last week’s council meeting, Dunn was invited to attend the commission meeting.

He declined, but sent a statement to be read into the minutes of the commission meeting. In part, the statement said, “I regret that my council meeting comments were considered an attack on the members of the Airport Commission because they were not intended as such and there were no allegations of any wrongdoing.”

krodriguez@loudounnow.com

6 thoughts on “Leesburg Airport Commission to Consider Funding Partnership with County

  • 2017-11-03 at 4:30 pm
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    Just another story, of many, of the Tom Dunn “bungle his way” through time on the Leesburg Town Council. After calling Leesburg Town Council members corrupt, and claiming that bribery by Leesburg Airport Commissioners had happened, now Tom Dunn wants us all to know that Tom Dunn misspoke, and did not mean what he said – truth be told, it is more likely Tom Dunn simply was being Tom Dunn, and did what Tom Dunn always does, name calling and slandering everyone around him. Then, being called out on it, Tom Dunn did what he always does in these situations, and retreated as fast as he could. This was not the first, second, third, or fourth time that Tom Dunn has done this kind of thing. And it will continue to happen, because Tom Dunn cannot help himself. Such great entertainment.

  • 2017-11-03 at 10:37 pm
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    BTW – http://www.leesburgva.gov/Home/ShowDocument?id=25612

    Please review the webpage and the revenue, expenditures, planned capital projects and understand the past, present and future of the Leesburg Airport. Also, understand, your wallet, mine, but not those in your government who want to spend our money. As you read, who is supposed to pay the millions for the new hangars and all the other work while the Town Council, not Tom Dunn and Ken Reid, are looking out for us if control of the Airport stays in Leesburg. It almost seems like The Mayor, and the liberals on the Town Council, are doing a dog and pony show with this “work group” just so they can figure out a way to roll these taxes on the backs of Leesburg Residents in order to figure out a creative way keep the Airport out of the control of Loudoun County. I guess we and all the other government agencies can terminally subsidize the Airport, while the end user, get to use it at our expense, sadly.

    Unlike the person commenting above, who is in the government, I am a citizen watchdog, I am not someone directly involved with the government, and feel compelled to advise everyone living in Leesburg and the County to watch the Leesburg Town Council Meeting in question online. Activities involving the Town and Airport Commission stink. I will leave it at that as this isn’t and hasn’t been the only thing that stinks in my “small” Town. Tom Dunn is a politician and needs to worry about many things, but these government folks, not Tom Dunn, don’t want to lose control of their precious Airport, their intertwined relationships, $$$$$, and all the favors that they do for each other. You can bash Tom Dunn, but he made his point at the meeting in several respects, and now Mr. Toth/Boykin, their brethren at the Airport, Kelly Burk, Ron Campbell, Marty Martinez, and many, many wealthy folks are not happy. Our Town is rife with too many “special relationships”, which will catch up with these folks. Get the County involved with the Airport, so there is some oversight and stop the collusion on a local level. Those rescinded “upcoming yes votes” don’t happen overnight for a reason. Draw your own conclusion……

    http://loudounnow.com/2017/10/26/leesburg-council-grounds-request-for-airport-funding-help/

  • 2017-11-04 at 1:06 am
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    Lawgh you sound like Jack in the Shinning with your endless mention of Tom Dunn. Admit it you really do like him. So while Lawgh is lost in the garden let’s look at facts:
    1. Currently County not involved with Airport operations or taxing higher or trying for land grabs. And most importantly not funding. Leeburg and this community minded (wink) Airport Commission have full control
    2. County asked Towns to provide funding requests PERIOD! just ask for money and County will let us know if yes it yours or no you get nothing or here are funds and conditions.
    3. Town Council says we want $8,000,000 from County so we can use our Town money to build sidewalks or fix drainage problems. Then commissioner Boykin says stop Council you did not check with me first. WOW! So the Council tells County don’t give us the $8,000,000.
    4. Town will create work group to do what?
    a. Give away some control over to the county? Not likely at all; Boykin and Toth don’t want to give an inch.
    b. Educate the County of benefits? It is likely County already knows based on previous issues in the past.
    c. Take control from the County to prevent higher taxing of planes, and control county land near airport, and have a seat at the county table for commissioners which they don’t already have. This sound great for the Town but why would County give money and give up control. THEY WONT!

    The result will be Town is asking to much for County to give funds, Commission will claim “see we told you Council we can’t work with the County”, County will think twice before it comes close to considering funding anything in the Town, and the Commissioners will have what they always wanted as Toth in the article says we like our little town where we get town tax payers to keep us in control with no outside influence and a Council that does as we want.

    Final thought: Don’t use any Town money to fund airport projects until the commission comes back with plan with County and the $8,000,000. And if they hose that up which is likely then stop spending money at airport and make it accountable for all it’s own debts like it was a few years ago.

  • 2017-11-05 at 10:57 am
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    Did not take Leesburgsfinest(Not!) and GoodOle(Bad) long to comment. What is interesting (and its not that they are the great defenders of Tom Dunn) is that both are calling for shutting down the Leesburg airport. What will be next for those two. Shutting down the Leesburg Police Department, shutting down Parks and Rec, ending contracts for garbage pickup, firing town employees who pick up the leaves in the fall, cutting off all funds for street repairs? Lets see if Tom Dunn votes for all of that. Oh, I am sorry, Tom Dunn has voted to do all of those things.

  • 2017-11-07 at 5:17 pm
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    Once again, I am a tax paying citizen, not a government agent like you. I am one of the people and wish more people cared to grasp the totality of waste, relationships and fraudulent underbelly within our government and between other industries. You know that very well, which is exactly why you use Nazi tactics to deflect my comments and bring up the LPD, P&R, etc. when there was never any mention of them. I don’t want to close the Airport. I want to force those who continue to be in Power for many, many, many years to rid themselves. They have a fiduciary responsibility to the People and not to themselves, their families, their friends, the elitists, etc. You should know pretty well what I am talking about as 95% of the people in this Town are sheep and either don’t pay any or real taxes, or don’t understand where or how they are being spent (or in some instances, wasted). The financial study done previously for the net net overall impact of the Airport is rather Bogus and isn’t net net applicable for Leesburg, and why should Leesburg, as in We The People, be paying for the hobbies/businesses of the elitists, Boykin and such, when they are paying no landing and other applicable fees??????? Leesburg has a fee for every possible thing you can imagine excluding the Airport. When Dulles is closed for a variety of bad weather, Leesburg may remain open and small jets can land for free. What a bargain! Boykin and Toth can do the Dog and Pony Show, then Kelly Burk will get her Liberal CCClan to backdoor the County in order to remain in control and tax the Leesburg residents. Bottom line, the Airport is currently financially benefitting the County and not the Town exclusively. The Fiduciary Responsibility is to the Town and nobody else, and in this case, once again, the County needs more involvement, if not total control of the Airport.

  • 2017-11-10 at 10:25 am
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    Lawgh is once again on liberal planet 9. Where does this story say close anything???

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