After the 1993 closing of Wurtsmith Air Force Base, Oscoda-Wurtsmith Airport Authority (OWAA or the Airport Authority) was established to assume ownership and operating responsibilities for the airfield - - along with an extensive inventory of aircraft maintenance facilities and industrial support buildings. The Airport Authority is a local government partnership. The Charter Township of Oscoda is one of five incorporating municipalities that make-up OWAA. The other four partners include Iosco County, Alcona County, the Charter Township of AuSable and Greenbush Township.
OWAA was established during 1994 as a municipal corporation. The Airport Authority’s principal source of operating revenue is generated from leasing out former military buildings. OWAA did not receive any form of scheduled or recurring revenue from the collection of local or state property taxes until 2016. Therefore, the Airport has been operating successfully as a self-sufficient business enterprise -- - as it relates to paying for general operating expenses. The Airport Authority has also been relatively successful with securing state and federal government grants to assist with costs for completing major capital repair and improvement projects.
During the year 2013 all properties located within the boundaries of Oscoda-Wurtsmith Airport were designated as a tax increment capture district. This designation was established in accordance with Michigan Public Act 281 of 1986 which has since been replaced by the State’s re-codified ‘Tax Increment Financing Act’ - - P.A. 57 of 2018. In accordance with the cited Public Acts, the OWA-LDFA captures growth portions of property taxes collected from businesses operating within the Airport. That growth portion of property taxes is also known as the 'Tax Increment.'
Synopsis of Authority Activities
During the first 2-years (2013 – 2014) there was no tax increment. Therefore, the Authority did not complete any projects during the first 5-years. After capturing three consecutive years (2015 – 2017) of tax increment revenue, the OWA-LDFA accumulated a meaningful sum of money. Going into the 2018 construction season, OWA-LDFA had unrestricted cash reserves of approximately $293,485.89.
Completed Projects During 2018
OWA-LDFA implemented its first public improvement project during 2018. That project involved reconstructing approximately 8/10ths mile of severely deteriorated ‘Pride Road’. Pride Road serves as the primary access route to/from a section of industrial park. That industrial park is the daily workplace of approximately 120 employees. OWA-LDFA expended $138,662.66 on the Pride Road reconstruction project.