Boughton Names McLachlan to Danbury Municipal Airport Task Force [Danbury News-Times]

October 11, 2011

Story as it appeared in the Danbury News-Times

DANBURY — Newly appointed members of the Danbury Muncipal Airport Task Force can expect to have their first meeting in the next few weeks, according to Mayor Mark Boughton.

The mayor announced the names of the 10 members of the panel, including state Sen. Michael McLachlan, R-Danbury and local real estate executive Paul Scalzo.

McLachlan, who was Boughton’s chief of staff before his election to the General Assembly, said he requested the appointment because he believes the airport is an important economic engine in the area and, “I want to see it flourish.”

“I’ve already begun researching what other states have done regarding economic development for small airports,” McLachlan said.

Boughton announced he would establish the task force during his annual State of the City address earlier this year.

He said the task force will be charged with a broad mission of looking at the airport’s operations and its economic impact on the city.

The hope, he said, is that additional revenue could be generated from the airport to help fill city coffers. Currently, the airport generates about $40,000 a year in income for the city.

“We have a major asset sitting in the middle of the city, and I don’t know if we are maximizing its potential,” Boughton said. “In this economy we have to derive every nickel that we can out of the facility.”

Officials have said that everything is on the table, including privatization of the airport.

McLachlan said privatization should be considered, but he doesn’t believe it’s a viable option at this time.

“If you look at other privatization efforts at other airports in the last decade, the market for companies to take it over is nonexistent right now,” he said.

Scalzo, the president of Scalzo Group Real Estate Services, said the airport is an important piece of property and he’s excited about being named to the task force.

The other members of the task force appointed by Boughton are John McCarthy Jr., a representative from a local homeowners association; Jim Bellano, a former Danbury economic development director; Deputy Fire Chief T.J. Wiedl; Bob King, who served as vice chairman of the city’s Charter Revision Commission two years ago; Frans Boetes, Jean Hazard; Eric Bergstrausser and James Cordes.

“This is an important task and a great opportunity for the city of Danbury to examine a valuable asset,” King said.

He added that his corporate experience in finance, operations and marketing should prove useful during his service on the task force.

Boughton said the task force’s final report might be completed early next year.

Contact Dirk Perrefort

at [email protected]

or at 203-731-3358.

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