Airport Sewer Tax Break Denied

Sep 26, 2012

A move to exempt the Bluegrass Airport from a tax that funds mandatory sewer improvements has failed.  Officials at Bluegrass Airport believe Lexington should give the facility a tax break.  They want their runways, taxi ways, and ramps exempted from the city’s storm water management fee.  The fee, which is paid by public and private entities, will finance a half billion dollars in sanitary and storm water sewer improvements.  Airport officials argue these are public surfaces, much like roadways.  Vice Mayor Linda Gorton, who chaired the storm water management task force, says an exemption would set a bad precedent

“I would argue against exempting one entity that has, such as yourselves, when we don’t exempt public school roads.  We don’t exempt any public property.  UK pays a phenomenal amount and we did not exempt them,” said Gorton.

The tax break was rejected by a council committee, but Airport officials can still take an appeal to the Water Quality Appeals Board. Airport executive director Eric Frankl says it’s too soon to say whether they’ll take that step.

“I don’t know yet.  We’re gonna go back and talk about that.  They made some very good points and we certainly understand again what the community is trying to accomplish and we want to be part of that community.  So, we’ll go back and look at and decide if we want to move forward or not,” said Frankl.

An exemption would save the airport about 86 thousand dollars.  Three other entities have taken appeals before the board.  They have all been denied.