Taxpayers responsible for airport losses

John F. Floyd

John F. Floyd

The numbers speak for themselves: Operations at Northeast Alabama Regional Airport in Gadsden are haemorrhaging money. And who should cover these losses? Gadsden ratepayers.

For too many years these taxpayers were unaware that the airport was operating with such a huge deficit, but things have changed in communications about the facility. Now, many Etowah County and Gadsden taxpayers are looking at the airport’s monthly financial statements — and those financial statements don’t paint a pretty picture.

The airport’s financial data for the nine months ended June 30 is as follows: total operating revenue was $41,520.88; net operating income was a loss of $854,728.67.

Of the net operating loss, $478,966.43 was for legal fees paid to the Birmingham law firm representing Gadsden Airport Authority in legal proceedings relating to alleged breaches of the Open Meetings Act of Alabama. Based on the latest financials, it won’t be long before city officials are asking city council for an additional $100,000 to pay for GAA’s attorney fees.

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