Opinion: Airport building a sweetheart deal for Clear Capital, not for taxpayers | SierraSun.com

Opinion: Airport building a sweetheart deal for Clear Capital, not for taxpayers

It has been several years since I removed myself from the Truckee Tahoe Airport political arena. This situation with Clear Capital is bizarre enough to have piqued my interest once again in proper management of the district.

Airports need to have certain types of buildings on them, such as hangars, car rentals, administration and maintenance. These are all aviation related, and as such, are necessary.

When an airport chooses to allow a building, including hangars, to be built and owned by someone else on its property, the smart airport operator does a land lease and enters a contract with the company that wants it, the company builds what they want, and then the building becomes airport property after 20 or 30 years.

With Clear Capital, the not-so-smart airport offers to build the building for the company and then rent it to them. What's the difference? In one situation, public money is at risk. In the other situation, private enterprise money is at risk.

As a taxpayer, whose money would you rather risk? Also, wouldn't you want to get a "free" building in a couple of decades?

Once the airport district spends a sackful of money and man-weeks building this proposed building, it intends to rent it out at $1.27 per sq. ft.

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I shan't use words such as ludicrous and lunacy, but I shall use the adjective "lucrative" in describing the deal that is offered to Clear Capital.

Stefanie Olivieri's comments, as reported last week in the Sierra Sun, are quite telling, in that $1.35 should be the fair rental rate.

Not only would the airport be "damaging the market," but this situation could easily be construed as a special district competing with private enterprise.

It's understandable Clear Capital would move quickly on this, and I can envision them choking back laughter at their getting such a sweet deal!

I bear no malice toward Clear Capital. It would be nice to keep their remaining jobs in the area, but is there no land in the town of Truckee for them to build a building and keep building permit fees and taxes going to the town instead of Nevada County, while keeping jobs local?

Tom Meadows

Truckee resident, former TTAD director and past president