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Airline subsidy might have merit, but contentions in letter were wrong

Jul 2, 2013 - Ron Warpness, Mayor, Riverton

Editor:

In a letter to the editor on June 17, Mr. Ken Prentice presented the idea of subsidizing our airline for better service. This idea may have merit, but in his discussion he made two grossly inaccurate statements that need to be corrected.

Mr. Prentice purportedly remembers a "red carpet" that was rolled out for Wal-Mart by the City of Riverton. The fact is that Wal-Mart bought property and then paid for the installation of public infrastructure (water and sewer lines) without any assistance from the City of Riverton. After that installation another developer came along and tied onto the water line that Wal-Mart installed, ran it across the road and built a store to compete with them. Since then a convenience store, Burger King and two hotels have further extended the water line that Wal-Mart installed. If that's the red carpet treatment I fail to see what advantage that created for them.

Next Mr. Prentice asserted that the City of Riverton ran the utility lines to the casino for free. That also is not correct. During early discussions with the casino developer the City of Riverton discussed the possibility of providing those utilities for the casino but it would be at their expense. They opted for a different solution and as a result the casino(s) are not served at this time by city water and sewer service.

Currently Great Lakes Airlines has committed to improve the service they provide at Riverton Regional Airport and have not asked for a dime of subsidy. We need to use the service we have and continue to work with Great Lakes as our air travel business partner.

If the idea of a subsidy for the airlines has merit, I hope that it is based on better information than the above two examples presented by Mr. Prentice.

In the future I would encourage our citizens to contact the city for accurate information on such issues. It saves us all a lot of "heartburn" from trying to deal with such misinformation.

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