While some people question if an expanded and realigned city airport could support itself even with the federal Airport Improvement Program providing up to $150,000 a year for maintenance, other people question if Kalispell can turn down the program's support and somehow increase airport user fees or lease revenues or reduce management costs to raise enough money to sustain the airport locally.
Some people say they are optimistic the city can and is better off trying to do just that.
Other people say they have serious doubts.
Kalispell recently issued a request for proposals to see if it can reduce its $48,000 a year in airport management costs to free up more money for maintenance work.
Two businesses submitted management proposals by the Friday, Oct. 11 deadline. But city officials are yet to review or consider them.
However the airport vote turns out in an otherwise quiet election year with only one actively contested City Council seat, Kalispell City Attorney Charlie Harball said he sees strong public interest in the airport issue and thinks some good questions are being raised.
"Is there an economic benefit to having a municipal airport? Does it have to be here? How is it funded? Do we want federal funds or do we not want them? Can we do it on our own? I think those are all good questions to explore," Harball said.
"If somebody is well-informed and votes for or against, I don't fault either outcome. I'm sure they can take a set of good facts that come to either conclusion. It just depends on what your philosophy is."
Reporter Tom Lotshaw may be reached at 758-4483 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lee's Summit decides to go ahead with airport expansion, completing many major projects in five years, including a controversial lengthening of its main runway.
The Horry County Council sent a message to lawmakers saying it is still behind an estimated $200 million on the terminal project at Myrtle Beach International Airport.
The $105,000 study would look at how efficiently the airport balances property leases, an increasing amount of passengers, and a $200 million terminal project.
A new terminal at Myrtle Beach International Airport will cost $228.8 million - nearly $29 million over budget, according to new contractor estimates.