When boardings dipped below 10,000 last year, that meant federal funding to the airport was cut from $1 million to $150,000, starting this fiscal year. That was money meant to help with airport projects like the one that needs to be done. Boardings will fall even more this year, which means at least another year with less money.
With less money to work with, the airport has little choice but to ask for the city to help.
Even UAM has acknowledged the vast drop in funding has not helped.
The airport has spent $1,372,871 to replace the apron in front of UAM's facilities.
But whether city officials agree another $1.2 million is worth spending on the old runway remains to be seen.
Another meeting may provide a long-awaited breakthrough. And as City Councilman Lynn Bryan said, the parties will "either leave happy or leave sad."
Wright said UAM prefers staying.
She doesn't deny it has put out RFPs -- requests for proposals -- to find alternative locations for its business in the event it can no longer land aircraft in Tupelo.
"If the city tells UAM they don't want us, we can't wait to get that information; it would irresponsible for us not to look," she said.
"But I want it made clear -- and I told this to the airport authority and the City Council -- we are not looking to go elsewhere. ... I'm not fighting this battle for UAM, I'm fighting this battle for all the employees and their families who work here. If the city wants us to leave, they'll have to tell them."
Keri Wright was named president and CEO on Monday after the company announced she had acquired Universal Asset Management, a Memphis-based company.
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