Tupelo airport requests $1.2M from city

Tupelo StockBy Robbie Ward

Daily Journal

TUPELO – Tupelo City Council members seemed skeptical Monday of a $1.2 million request to reconstruct a portion of the city airport’s taxiway, a problem council members thought they solved a month ago with a fraction of the cost.

Tupelo Airport Authority executive director Josh Abramson formally made the request to City Council members on behalf of the airport authority, which believes the city help is necessary to keep Universal Asset Management, the largest private tenant at the airport, from leaving.

Abramson requested the city back and pay for a 10-year loan from the Mississippi Development Authority to repair part of the airport. The loan would cost the city of Tupelo about $140,000 annually.

“This is outweighed by the contribution that UAM makes in the city of Tupelo,” Abramson told the City Council.

Along with the request letter, Abramson distributed a three-year plan that showed UAM pledging to spend $29 million in the city through salaries and benefits, supplies and purchases and utility costs, along with spending $700,000 in capital costs at the airport.

The area the airport wants upgraded was last improved in 1963.

A month ago, the City Council voted to spend up to $107,675 for emergency repairs at the airport, hoping to satisfy short-term repairs needed by addressing part of the taxiway. UAM officials did not find the offer acceptable and met multiple times with city leaders in closed session about footing the bill for much more expensive upgrades.

TAA member Rocky Miskelly said UAM officials have said the company would likely leave the city if upgrades weren’t made.

The City Council is expected to meet in closed session later this week to further discuss the request.

robbie.ward@journalinc.com

  • charlie

    Tupelo, you were warned about Universal Asset Management before they came to town. If memory serves, you fired the airport manager.

  • Tupelo_Guy

    I’m glad I didn’t go fill out an application wtih UAM. I would be wasting my time!

  • ralph

    will UAM take the wrecks when they leave or did TAA leave that out of the contract? how would a runway built 50 years ago be capable of handling a 747? UAM 1 TAA 0

    • The-Facts

      NO we will have to clean it up.. Look at other airports they have used.

  • closeherdown

    Believe my name says it all, close that airport down.

  • VocalCoach

    To be honest, I’ve never really seen a need for Tupelo to have an airport in the first place. I have NEVER used Tupelo airport because it is either too expensive or out of the way when flying. I would say shut it down and send UAM packing.

    Ralph – if my memory serves me correctly, when UAM moved their operations from Arkansas to here, they left behind a small group to finish off what planes were left before they completely pulled up stake.

  • The-Facts

    Do you think this was not the plan from
    the beginning? This is what salvage airplane business do. Go from city to city.

  • FrereJocques

    If it is truly the case that UAM will be bringing almost $30 million into the Tupelo economy, then the Council would be idiotic to not do this. There is an old truism: You have to spend money in order to make money. Tupelo wanted UAM’s business, now they should be willing to spend a few bucks to keep them here, especially since the rate of return on this investment would be around 30 to1.

    But then, MS governments at all levels seems to have an aversion to this line of thinking. When our top state politician, our dearly beloved Guv’nor Uncle Philbert won’t expand Medicare to aid the poor, even though it would bring several times more money into the state than it would spend, he sets the example for the rest of the state. The fish rots from the head down.

    • Christopher

      Aside from your wandering off the subject, you might do some research to find out EXACTLY what the strings are for the extra money your guv’ment is ‘parachuting in’ as a federal official said would happen if Alabama would accept the money. Folks like you, God bless you, just go by what you hear on the boob tube and you run with it screaming at your targets as you go. Yeah yeah, we Republicans HATE poor people and EVERY minority. Sadly, under-informed voters like you are in control of the voting booths…THAT is grotesque.

  • Winston Smith

    The airport does take up a huge amount of space. I’m not sure how much revenue the airport generates, but I’m guessing if we built businesses there, they would be more profitable. The whole west side of town seems rather underdeveloped.

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