Saturday, May 25, 2019

McKinney’s Airport/Downtown Reality

City of McKinney 2019 Community Opinion Survey regarding commercial airport flights

The results of the 2019 National Citizen Survey for McKinney and city Budget Survey show that citizen opinion on the airport is conflicted. However, the new City Council goals for 2019 show the airport continues to stay as a top 5 priorities. This means more and more money will be put into the airport. 

In the annual Budget survey on the city of McKinney's website, the airport has been listed as the bottom priority of 10 priorities for at least the past two years. For the 2019 National Citizen Survey, 48% of paper survey respondents and 38% of online respondents strongly favor offering commercial airline services in McKinney (out of about 340 who actually responded). About 70% of those who support commercial service would be fine with low-budget carriers like Spirit or Frontier (see p. 27 of the opinion survey). Maybe those who support commercial airline services believe we would all benefit financially from such an arrangement. 

The complex revenue bubbles (TIRZ traps) the airport, downtown, and their surrounding areas are under mean that the general fund will not see the tangible results of any success in any of those areas past the low amounts the general fund already gets each year as long as the two TIRZ remain in place:
  • No matter how successful the downtown TIRZ #1 area gets, that area will only give the general fund about $2.6M in sales, use, and property taxes a year maximum.
  • No matter how business explodes, the airport TIRZ #2 area will only give the general fund about $1.2M in sales, use, and property taxes a year maximum.

TIRZ1 & TIRZ2 on the right and left of Hwy 5

The rest of the profits in the downtown and airport areas stay in their TIRZ funds to be used only on their respective TIRZ areas for very specific projects (not for things like fire, police, or other city services). The TIRZ funds are controlled by appointed City Council members and representatives of the county and ISD.

Let’s say that the McKinney airport starts commercial low-budget flight services and commercial business multiplies in the industrial zones located all around the airport. One would think that our dreams of a higher commercial tax base that could lower our residential property tax burden would be realized. One would think that the whole city would directly benefit from successful downtown and airport areas. Unfortunately, the rest of the city will only benefit indirectly, if anything. Maybe more people rent apartments or go to the grocery stores outside of the TIRZ areas. Maybe there is a prestige that makes people feel good.

For more, click here.

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