What sort of airport is it?
The future of Minden-Tahoe Airport hangs in the balance. The question is simple, what do we want the airport to be?
Should it be an economic engine for the county, supplementing tax dollars?
Should it be a general aviation airport providing support for all kinds of small aircraft?
Should it retain its position as a premier soaring airport?
Are these things mutually exclusive? Can the airport fulfill all its functions without disturbing the peace of Valley residents?
In 1984 when residents approved an initiative to limit the size of aircraft at the airport, it was with the idea that the airport should remain small.
Approval of the weight ordinance didn’t halt growth at the airport and that growth has driven the need for improvements the county is unable and unwilling to pay for.
Enter the federal government. There was a time in Douglas County when federal money was viewed with suspicion for just the sort of reasons we are dealing with today.
Taking the fed’s money means you have to abide by their conditions, whether you are a college student with a Pell grant or a county taking federal transportation dollars.
Because of that, the future of the airport may not entirely be up to voters. We live in a country where the majority doesn’t always rule. It can be frustrating, but the people are only one part of the system of checks and balances our government is based on.
County commissioners may seek voter approval of an increased weight limit in November. However, whatever voters decide, the issue may ultimately be decided elsewhere.