|North Adams Airport Commission to Address Lease Concerns |
|By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff|
02:31AM / Friday, December 22, 2017
|The Airport Commission said it send leases to the city solicitor for review. |
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Airport Commission has pledged to investigate fixed-base operator leases after airport users brought up concerns over the fairness of the lease agreements.
Airport users Michael Milazzo and Bruce Goff asked to be put on Tuesday's agenda last month to discuss fixed base operator, or FBO, license agreements in which two airport businesses are paying and two are not.
"I think you are in dangerous territory of grant assurance issues for treating FBO's differently under your grant assurance clauses," Milazzo said. "I think we should try to get to the bottom of all of the leases."
Milazzo claimed, with leases in hand, that it appeared that Midnav Aircraft Support and the Mohawk Soaring Club pay an FBO fee to operate at the airport while Turboprop East and Teamflys do not.
Milazzo asked why TeamFlys and Turbo Prop did not have to pay an FBO fee and said he thought it would make more sense for Turboprop to pay the FBO fee instead of charging every customer a landing fee to be paid to the city.
"Right now, Turboprop keeps track of who lands and pays the city for the landing fee and I don't think we should be penalizing any business for doing business," he said. "I think Turboprop would prefer to pay a yearly FBO fee ... It is silly to me to charge anybody to come into the area and spend money."
Goff also has concerns more specifically over the 2003 Midnav lease. He said although the lease is labeled as an FBO agreement it has language that would pertain more to a sublease agreement.
Goff said there is language in the main tenant's lease that states that lease is subject to every lease signed after it. He also cited language that stated the main tenant's lease would change if there are better terms for the sub-lessor.
He believed if it is a sublease agreement, it would be subject to the main tenant's lease. With other leases signed over the past decade, would make Midnav's sublease null at this point, he said.
Goff said this would mean Midnav has been paying the city for almost 10 years when it did not have to.
"Is it a sublease or is it actually a licensing agreement to operate an FBO?" Goff asked. "We just want everyone to be on the same playing field and this document is ambiguous."
Chairman Jeff Naughton thanked the airport users for bringing forth their concerns and said he would run the leases by the city solicitor and have answers for the next meeting.
"With all of the leases we have over there, some of them going back literally decades, I certainly am not in the position ... to know what you would come here and request," he said. "But if you tell us what you need us to look at we would be more than happy to do that."
In other business, Peter Enzien of Stantec updated the commission on airport improvement projects and said a change order has been signed to extend the contractors time to finish the Shamrock Hangar Rehabilitation Project.
He said the inside of the hangar is nearing completion and the contractor now has until Dec. 31 to finish.
"Things are moving forward ... and they just had their final inspection," he said. "The just did all of their insulation earlier this week and have Sheetrock up and they are installing the ceiling grid."
He said the hangar door installation has been extended until Jan. 31. He said this process is lagging because the fabrication of the actual doors is more involved.
Enzien said the entire project was supposed to be completed 60 days after the contract was executed in late October but because of the contractor's mobilization time and waiting for tenants to move out of the space, the project deadline was pushed out.