County commissioner Joe Bowser wants Durham County to get more out of Raleigh-Durham International Airport.
“Raleigh citizens are getting a big benefit out of that airport, more than any other group,” Bowser said during the commissioners' work session this afternoon.
What set Bowser off was the fact that sales-tax revenue from the airport's stores and restaurants goes to Wake County. Bowser said Durham should get a share since the airport serves both counties and Durham County allocates some money to the airport every year.
The business came up during an update on airport doings by Airport Authority members Tommy Hunt and Craigie Sanders. In their report, they mentioned the 25 or so new retailers and eating places in the renovated Terminal 2.
Getting a share of sales taxes could be difficult, Hunt and Sanders said. For one thing, the airport is located entirely in Wake County.
"The one way for us to effect change," said Sanders, a Durham attorney, "would be the legislature."
County attorney Lowell Siler said his office would do some research to see what options are available.
Bowser's concern about other jurisdictions benefitting at Durham's expense has a history. Recently, he has complained about water-quality proposals for Jordan and Falls Lake that would put particular expense on Durham while mostly benefitting Wake and Chatham residents.
Farther back, when he was a freshman commissioner in 1997, Bowser wanted to impose a tax on commuters who crossed the county line to work at the Research Triangle Park; and for the City of Durham to annex the Park.
The tax idea went nowhere, with his board colleagues pointing out that it would invite retaliation in kind by other counties. State law prohibits any municipality from annexing RTP.