Editor: I’d like to address Gary Kowalski’s letter about the Leesburg Airport. It appears that Mr. Kowalski knows very little about the economics of the airport and suffers from a bit of “have not” jealousy. He claims that the airport is “little more than a place for the 1 percenters to park their expensive airplanes.” I bought my first airplane in 1999 for $18,000, ($26,266 in today’s dollars). You can’t buy a nice car at that price. Many of the airplanes at Leesburg are owned by partnerships where individuals pool their money enabling them to own more capable airplanes. Most are certainly not 1 percenters but rather Joe six-packs who prefer flying as a hobby. What’s wrong with that?
I owned three aviation businesses in Loudoun County for 18 years. I employed hundreds of pilots bringing in several hundred million in revenue to be taxed by the county. We spent hundreds of thousands of dollars a year on fuel and maintenance at the airport. More tax revenue for the town. Had Leesburg airport not been here, I would have had my business in Manassas.
I will agree on one point. The town does not need to spend significant amounts of money for airport improvements. There is indeed a shortage of hangars at Leesburg. The town should work with industry to develop hangars and businesses on the airport. Let industry build hangars, and aviation office space at the airport for reasonable land leases. I would have had my businesses on the airport had there been space available, more tax money for the town. When the tower is permanent at Leesburg, many more charter and corporate aircraft will be able to utilize the airport. The town should allow private companies to build the hangar facilities to house those aircraft and businesses.
Mr. Kowalski complains about the difference between car tax rates and airplane tax rates. While Joe six-pack pays a higher tax rate for his car, he also requires significantly more in infrastructure than the pilots at Leesburg.
Finally, Mr. Kowalski complains about not being able to pick where his tax money is spent. I pay significantly more property tax than most people in the county. Sixty-eight percent of my property tax goes to public schools that my three children did not attend. I’d sure like to see my tax dollars spent on the airport but instead I’ve been paying for your kids to go to school.
George Boras, Ashburn