Westside Eagle-Observer

Burke, XNA airport authority misreprese­nt facts


In regard to the Sept. 22 article, “Northwest Arkansas National Airport considerin­g de-annexation from Highfill; city’s mayor expresses concerns,” by Ron Wood, I disagree with many of Aaron Burke’s statements in the article.

I think it is disrespect­ful that he injected inflammato­ry remarks when he stated, “We’re pretty unusual in that we’re a major airport that kind of got gobbled up in a hostile takeover, if you want to call it that, by a small municipali­ty that saw a revenue stream, basically, and we didn’t have a vote.”

We all voted on this at the ballot box in the 1990s. We, the citizens, were told that whichever small community was going to be burdened with the airport in our front yard, that community would reap the tax benefits in return. Therefore, this was not a “hostile” takeover.

There are some of us still around who remember the takeover in a much different way. Several people in our small community were forced to sell out so that the airport could be built. Selling out farms that had been in families for over 100 years was acceptable for the greater good, we were told. This takeover is the one I remember.

Annexing in the property was done so that the city of Highfill would receive the tax monies, per the ballot box, that was promised to us.

The $500,000 helps support the residents who have to listen to the airport noise and deal with the extra traffic we didn’t have before. Why is your budget more important than the residents who live here?

Why is it that there is no one representi­ng the city of Highfill on the Airport Authority?

Since “the board will be hosting state legislator­s this week, and the issue could be discussed then,” I believe the state legislator­s should hear both sides of the story. Hearing just the Airport Authority side is misleading, from what I read in the papers, online or on the news.

The state legislator­s need to find out how this was sold to the residents. We are already paying more for everything due to the economy and adding this burden back on us now is wrong. Where is the integrity?

By the definition of a municipali­ty, it should be organized by the residents, not an airport authority board with members who do not even reside within the limits they are trying to create — some do not even live in the same county. Debbie Douglas


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