Letters to the Editor

Fast Focus 'Future of Vista Field:' Misleading numbers

Can anyone make a decision on bad data?

After thoroughly analyzing the financial data presented in the DPZ report on Vista Field, the conclusion is that the financial reporting is seriously flawed, whether intentional or not, and misleads the commissioners and the public in the decision process.

Let's assume private parties will build hangars, one part-time port staff is required to oversee Vista and the same evaluation criteria is used to expand Vista and the redevelopment of Vista, then what do the financial numbers look like?

When using this criteria, the conclusions drawn below are radically different than presented in the draft EIS.

The cost of expanding Vista Field should be approximately $5.9 million and not $43 million, and the operational loss today is $63,281 and not a loss of $360,281 as in the study.

Applying the same criteria to remove the airport and redevelop it hoping private investors will fill it with home, offices and retail shows, the cost to the port is $23,897,000, not $11,897,893 as in the study. So the net to the port after all the land has been sold over 20 years is not a net gain of $3.7 million but a loss of $8.3 million.

What is the difference?

The report claims there has been $4,550,961 in buildings at Vista Field by the port, representing $152,702 depreciation expense per year for 30 years. Anyone involved with Vista Field will know that the port has not invested $4.5 million. Maybe $1.2 million buying out hangar owners.

The claim is that it currently takes $187,000 a year for the last seven years in direct salaries and benefits to manage the airport. Seriously, for no operator and 20 planes! One person part time is more than enough.

If the airport were redeveloped, there are no costs for staff time spent over the next 20 years and no overhead of the port. If these are added, then the redevelopment of the airport loses money: $8.3 million over 20 years.

Real data says that airport can stay open for $0.11 per year for a $100,000 home -- a no tax increase.

-- CARL CADWELL, Richland