NDSU still leasing jet scrutinized by lawmakersBISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota State University is still leasing a rarely used jet for roughly $320,000 per year, despite lawmakers’ criticism that it was an unjustifiable expense for taxpayers to cover.
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota State University is still leasing a rarely used jet for roughly $320,000 per year, despite lawmakers’ criticism that it was an unjustifiable expense for taxpayers to cover.
The school has leased the twin-engine Beechcraft King Air B200 since July 2007 from the privately run NDSU Development Foundation for about $80,000 per quarter.
In December 2011, a state legislative committee questioned the expenditure, given that the plane was being used for fewer than 70 hours annually.
Rep. Jeff Delzer, R-Underwood, told The Forum that a bill this session that aims to establish a centralized system of state-owned planes overseen by the Transportation Department would not include the NDSU plane — which he called "way exorbitant" — because lawmakers were told it was for sale.
NDSU spokeswoman Laura McDaniel said the foundation listed the plane on the worldwide market from May 16 until Oct. 4 of last year, and one offer was received and accepted. The prospective buyer later rescinded the offer, and the university continues to lease the plane and rent it out as part of a charter pool, she said.
“We will reassess when market conditions are more favorable,” she said.
If the plane isn't sold soon, legislators could try to address the issue through the budget process or send a message to the state Board of Higher Education that it needs to end the practice, Delzer said.
“We would hope that gets taken care of,” he said. “We didn't put anything in the bill, but we would hope that that doesn't continue.”