County shoots down airport lease reduction

Apalachicola corporate hangar

The corporate hangar that lacks a permanent tenant.

Published: Friday, August 29, 2014 at 04:53 PM.

County commissioners have refused to lower the monthly lease payment on Apalachicola Regional Airport for fixed base operator Crystal Air of Chattanooga, Tennessee.

At their regular Aug. 19 meeting, Director of Administrative Services and Airport Manager Alan Pierce recommended commissioners reduce the $5,000 monthly payment to $2,500. “His problem is the lease is too high,” said Pierce.

In an interview after the meeting, Pierce said the FBO has been late with rent more than half the time since signing the lease in Oct. 2012. Payments are currently in arrears, he said.

Pierce also suggested the county take back control of the unoccupied corporate hangar.

In addition to reducing the lease payments, effective June 1, Pierce asked to modify the lease to allow the county to give Crystal Air 10 days notice “in the event Franklin County has a use for it. Until Franklin County gives Crystal Air the notice, the corporate hangar will continue to be in their lease and they will continue to pay utilities for the building.

“At this point, Crystal Air is not regularly utilizing the hangar. But, on occasion, does receive rent when a large plane stays there overnight. The consensus of the Airport Advisory Committee is that they would like to get the corporate hangar back.”

Commissioners were critical of the change to the lease. “If there’s a problem, I’d like him (Crystal Air CEO Taylor Newman) to come and tell me there’s a problem,” Chair Cheryl Sanders said.

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