Am I the only one who finds spending $800,000 of federal Homeland Security money to surround Ticonderogas tiny airfield with a chain-link fence a tad extreme? Couldnt our federal government find more worthy projects in the interest of national security than writing a nearly $1 million check to surround 10 private single-prop planes and keep teenagers from racing their dads pickup on the tarmac?
This from the folks that gave taxpayers a $434 hammer and a $600 toilet seat cover.
Imagine the good that amount of money could do for a more worthy project here. What real improvements could be made at the airport to better align it for the future perhaps even position it as a learning stage for Plattsburghs new aeronautical institute.
Better yet, how much tangible good could $800,000 do for local residents, many of whom work two jobs just to live a whisker above the poverty level. Perhaps it could help create affordable housing or reduce the crushing cost of property taxes.
Lets put it in perspective. Crown Points entire amount to be raised by taxes in 2007 was just under $1 million. That $800,000 could give every homeowner in Crown Point a year off from local property taxes.
The entire budget for the Ticonderoga Police Department in 2007 was just over $500,000. Ti could easily draw enough in interest on $800,000 to hire two additional patrolmen and dedicate 100 percent of their time to airport security.
The towns justification for the fence is to keep people off the airport property. But do they seriously think terrorists and vandals would be confounded by a chain-link fence? The airport is still remote, and bolt cutters are pretty inexpensive.
A larger gate, more signage, lighting and security cameras would probably be just as effective as the fence and a lot more affordable.