CIRA Keeps Hope To Tax Rural McLean County | WGLT

CIRA Keeps Hope To Tax Rural McLean County

Apr 6, 2017

The Central Illinois Regional Airport continues to lobby for a county wide property tax rate to support the airport.
Credit Staff / WGLT

Central Illinois Regional Airport leaders are still hoping to create new property taxes for rural McLean County property owners.

The idea first surfaced two years ago, when a federal budget sequester threatened to eliminate funds to operate the airport control tower.

Airport Director Carl Olson said the reason is to have a backup in case federal funds dry up. He says government funds now support security and air traffic control services.

"We would have to allow those services to evaporate which means the airport would not be as viable. It would not be as vibrant. It would not be as competitive," said Olson.

Bloomington-Normal homeowners already pay taxes to help operate the airport. The tax rate for homeowners would go down about $40 a year for the owner of a $300,000 home in the Twin Cities.

Rural homeowners would pay about $50 more per year.

"Which creates a stronger more stable diverse property tax base that allows the airport the greater strength and vitality in the event that it's needed," said Olson.

Olson said the airport already supports the rural economy because 40 percent of airport workers live outside of Bloomington-Normal.

Olson said the airport authority is hoping area lawmakers will pass legislation creating the rural property tax for the airport during the spring session of the General Assembly.

WGLT's Charlie Schlenker talked with Olson about the aviation industry, soccer fields, and property taxes.

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