Increase could close airport

Published 10:53 am Tuesday, April 5, 2016

In the March 23, issue of The Farmville Herald, Cumberland County District Two Representative Lloyd Banks said, “…the airplane rate is long overdue. This rate is likely to increase annually until it is aligned with other forms of personal property.” 

By increase, he means tripling the aircraft tax rate.

This proposal arises every few years and is promptly dismissed. Friends of Farmville Airport would like to bring several issues forward for consideration in hopes that, once again, this ill-advised proposal can be put to rest, hopefully this time permanently.

Email newsletter signup

Aircraft cannot be taxed like cars and boats, which decrease in value every year. In the U.S., most private airplanes are quite old, and those at Farmville are no exception. The average airplane there is 48 years old. Several were built in the 1940s.

Old aircraft are not valued in the same way as other vehicles — appreciating in value rather than depreciating. Tax valuations two or three times the original purchase price are typical. 

My Cessna 182, for example, purchased new in 1962 for $18,500, is now appraised at $40,000. Suppose that, as a Cumberland County taxpayer, your car tax increased every year because its appraised value always went up, instead of down. I doubt that would sit very well. Nor does it sit well with aircraft owners, who, contrary to common belief, are in the great majority not financially well-off.

In the past, Prince Edward County also decided to implement a huge aircraft tax hike. A local pilot spoke at the board of supervisors meeting and predicted that within two years, the county airplane taxes would be zero; the owners would simply move their airplanes elsewhere. True to his prediction, after the tax hike was implemented, the aircraft were moved.

The Friends of Farmville Airport urges the Cumberland Board of Supervisors to consider carefully this proposal to triple aircraft taxes.

This proposal benefits no one and has the potential to seriously harm the Farmville Regional Airport — perhaps close it.

If, instead, Cumberland County and the Town of Farmville will work together, we believe that Farmville Airport will prosper.

Jim Wills is spokesman for Friends of the Farmville Airport. His email address is