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Proposal on how the state's largest airport is run is being rejected
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Who will be in charge?
Bruce Lelbowlts (flikr.com)

The Airport Authority says it doesn't need the State to take over the Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport which is currently run by the city. 

Carl Newman is Chief Executive Director of the airport authority.

"We generate, roughly, 17 million dollars a year in revenue, and our budget is approximately 14 million dollars. Every year, we have a surplus of funds, and we do very well from a financial standpoint. This board has been extremely supportive of the efforts the organization is looking to undertake," says Newman.  

However, Republican State Senator Josh Harkins is filing a bill that would move the airport under a multi-county oversight board.  Harkins' plan is for the Governor - not the city of Jackson - to appoint members to that board.

"Anytime you take an appointment away from somebody, I think people feel threatened. But, at the end of the day, there's not going to be any change to the revenue that comes to the city. There's not going to be any change to the real property tax they collect from Rankin County. We're not renaming the airport. This bill doesn't address any of that," Harkins says.  

Though considered part of the City of Jackson, the entire airport is actually located in Rankin County. That's why Harkins says a tri-county authority should oversee it.

Jackson City Councilman Tyrone Hendrix does not agree. 

"I guess my question is, 'Why should we change?'. We are in a good position. Our airport is solvent. It's stable, and I think we must continue to push forward and fight to keep our airport," Hendrix says. 

If Senator Harkins' bill passes, two members of the tri-county authority each would be appointed from Hinds, Madison and Rankin counties along with one at-large member.