Charlotte Airport Battle

City Council agrees to pay airport $1.6 million

The Charlotte City Council on Monday unanimously approved a plan to give Charlotte Douglas International Airport almost $1.6 million worth of underpaid rent.

The deficit was discovered last year as the city began looking into airport operations in the wake of longtime aviation director Jerry Orr’s departure. The underpaid rent stems from long-term leases the city has for three facilities at the airport: an animal control facility, a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department helicopter hangar and a fire station.

According to airport officials, the city was underbilled for rent at the three facilities because their assessed acreage was larger than it was listed. The helicopter and animal control facilities were built or expanded more than a decade ago, and the city pays the airport rent for their use, as required by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The airport has submitted a “corrective plan” to the FAA to address the underpaid rent. The city will pay the airport by Oct. 1, with the money coming from the city’s general fund.

The audits, ordered last year, were part of a wide-ranging look at Charlotte Douglas’ practices. Auditors found lax oversight and a lack of written policies, and airport officials have said they’re working to correct the problems.