AAR seeks tax exemption, wants community on board - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

AAR seeks tax exemption, wants community on board

(Source: AAR) (Source: AAR)

Employees are hard at work in AAR's newest Lake Charles facility.

But there's still work to be done behind the hangars to ensure AAR can be the force they promised in August.

"We just want to be open and up front about it to everybody that this is important to us and in the competitive marketplace that we serve into, it's almost critical," said Danny Martinez, vice president of technical services for AAR.

Company officials say a 10-year tax abatement from the City of Lake Charles, the Calcasieu Parish School Board and Sheriff's Office would allow AAR to keep their overhead costs low when attracting new clients.

More clients mean more work, which means more jobs. Martinez said in the aviation industry, it's all about finding the best deal.

"A customer will chase if my sale rate or somebody's sale rate is 25 cents less an hour than mine, the customer will chase that. So, we're talking about small numbers in a large scheme of things," he said.

But as they try to build their own legacy in Lake Charles, AAR faces a turbulent takeoff, trying to differentiate themselves from the previous Aeroframe.

In May, the school board rejected Aeroframe's request for an extension of an identical 10-year tax abatement.

"We certainly understand the pressures that everyone in the community is under … We just ask to be judged from who we are and not on what the past may have brought the community," Martinez said.

AAR has five other locations around the country, each of them have a similar exemption agreement. And as seen in company YouTube videos, AAR tries to live up to their end of those agreements by dedicating themselves to civic engagement and social responsibility. Martinez said the goal is the same for Lake Charles.

"We want to be able to offer a pathway for the local kids around here to continue to work and stay in Lake Charles if they choose. So, that's important to us," Martinez said.

Martinez will be meeting with the Sheriff's Office, city council and school board individually starting with the school board next week where they are expected to vote on their position.

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