The Georgetown City Council voted unanimously last night to direct airport staff to come up with possible options for keeping the airport tower open. It’s scheduled to close on or after April 7 as part of the federal budget cuts known as sequestration.
Some are concerned safety will be put at risk without tower operators. There are also concerns that revenues will go down and businesses will be hurt because fewer people will use the airport.
The Georgetown City Council recognizes that finding a permanent solution before the scheduled closure date is unlikely. One major factor is the cost of keeping the tower open:
The current Tower operations are funded by the FAA to a private firm. The actual cost of this contact is believed to exceed $400,000 per year to keep the tower open 14 hours a day/7 days per weak. The Georgetown Airport is a operated as a Revenue Fund, funded by the users of the facility not the General Fund of the budget. That level of funding would exceed the current revenue forcast generated by the Airport, while maintaining the current minimal level of service provided by Airport Staff.
Towers at airports in San Marcos and New Braunfels are also set to close.