Councillor Bob Lutz is a Republican, so what's up? Could he be fiddling with the Airport's budget? The airport got an earful from the public and a polite note of disagreement from the Councillors when they presented their budget in committee last week. A key spark was the fact that the Airport Board had just decided to begin an appeal of Judge Keele's ruling against them in their lawsuit that tried to stop a Fast Park facility from being built in Ameriplex.
Well, they got more than that this time.
Lutz offered an amendment to cut their budget by $100,000; the cost of the appeal. In a $161 million budget, they won't be left wounded or anything. Through this cut, the Council would be sending a message that the continuation of this lawsuit is frowned upon.
Lutz and Councillor Jason Holliday share the airport in their districts. Lutz on the Wayne side and Holliday on the Decatur.
Between them they laid out some of the history of the airport/Ameriplex/Fast Park story that I had not heard discussed in public before. And it is telling. Both the developer and Ameriplex approached the airport as soon as they thought there might be a good match in locating a Fast Park facility within the industrial park. They wouldn't go any further if the airport had a problem with it. The airport didn't have a problem. The Mayor's office didn't have a problem.
Fast forward to when plans were coming to fruition. Indy Park Ride & Fly - an off airport parking facility that moved out of Marion County and into Plainfield when the new terminal opened - had hired an attorney who went door to door in the abutting neighborhood. That attorney is now representing the airport in its lawsuit.
Lets face it, this lawsuit doesn't have merit. Never did. The airport is simply using its deep pockets to make it too expensive and too prolonged for Fast Park and Ameriplex to continue. They want to drive a legitimate business out of Decatur Township. They don't want the competition. This governmental entity wants to kill off competitors in a free market.
Long story short, the committee voted 4-3 to amend the airport's budget by $100,000. Voting with the Decatur community were Councillors Lutz, Holiday, Cardwell, and Mahern. Voting against were Councillors Gray, Talley, and Osili.
They also voted to send it to the full Council with a do-pass recommendation. I could see Gray vote no, but could not tell who else may have joined him.
This is an important vote for Decatur Township. We overwhelmingly want the Fast Park to be built. It is not your granddad's parking facility; rather it is so green that it can teach the airport a thing or two about being environmentally responsible. It would be located outside the TIF and bring much needed tax dollars to our schools and help move us toward a more balanced tax base. It will spark the development of much need commercial property that will benefit the community at large and help Ameriplex attract more high salary tenants to the Purdue Research Park.
I want to thank Councillors Bob Lutz, Jason Holliday, Jeff Cardwell, and Brian Mahern for standing up with us and standing up for us. Your support means a lot to us.
For those who are interested, I've embedded that part of the committee meeting from the WCTY archives below - it runs almost half an hour: