From a list of typical ways to fund airport capacity projects, one item was crossed off on Tuesday, May 23.
Six options remained.
In the aftermath of a $200 million general obligation bond proposal failing with 58.7% of votes “against” on May 6, members of the McKinney City Council met in a work session Tuesday to evaluate next steps.
That discussion included input from Edward Shelswell-White, chief customer officer with Sky Synergy. Sky Synergy has served as a long-term consultant for the city on the airport.
As Shelswell-White puts it, looking to the future comes down to two points: the implications of the referendum as well as the funding and development options that are still on the table.
A list of “typical ways to fund airport capacity projects” featured seven options including federal and state funds; bonds backed by general airport revenues; bonds backed by PFC revenues; bonds backed by city tax revenues (general obligation bonds); cash reserves; airline development; and a public-private partnership. Shelswell-White said funding usually involves some combination of the options, not just one.
“The reason for pursuing a city-run and funded development initially, again, was because it provided the best path to get the economic benefits of commercial service as fast as possible with maximum control over the vision at the lowest cost.” he said. “If you decide to continue along that path, clearly (...) one option’s off the table now.”
The presentation included putting a line through the general obligation bond option, a representation of the failed bond proposal from May 6.
However, Shelswell-White added, that doesn’t necessarily mean that any one of the other options is now the “best option.” He used the example of public-private partnerships.
“It’s probably not suddenly and magically the best thing to pursue because the reasons why that wasn’t the best option to start with don’t magically make that the best option, now that a general obligation bond is off the table,” he said.
Shelswell-White recommended that city officials evaluate the implications of the referendum, development options and the funding options before coming to a decision about next steps.
He noted that Sky Synergy is maintaining “regular contact” with candidate airlines on the city’s behalf.
“And by the way, they understand even better than we do that airport development anywhere tends to have an element of controversy, so what happened here May 6 is not unusual at all,” Shelswell-White said. “It’s not going to deter the airlines. It’s still back to a question of, ‘What does Mckinney want from its airport in light of what happened on May 6?’”
The work session meeting did not include any official action by the city council on the item.
During the presentation, Shelswell-White noted that maximizing development of the McKinney National Airport has been a city priority since 2012.
“Discussions of other airports in North Texas — one of them is Sherman, that that should be the next airport — fails to acknowledge both the economic and the engineering realities of air service,” he said “So without regard to what happens there, McKinney is uniquely positioned both for reasons economic and engineering to be a commercial service airport.”
In response to a question from Councilman Patrick Cloutier about the Sherman airport, Shelswell-White said the Sherman airport, which is 72 miles north of the population centers, doesn’t have enough population around it and that the runway is not sufficiently strong to handle aircraft above a regional jet.
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By now it should be apparent that the general public has rejected the McKinney Airport boondoggle. Perhaps because there has never been a publicized, true accounting as to its ANNUAL NET COST to taxpayers. We hear city government blowhards extolling the virtues of expansion and lofty revenue projections ... but we NEVER see a published comparison of 'total annual tax dollars spent on' vs. 'annual income from' the airport. The city would be financially better served by bulldozing this debacle and planting rotating crops on the land.
The citizens have spoken. We don't want worse traffic and noise. My next vote will be against every incumbent holding office in McKinney if they continue trying to move forward with the expansion.
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