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New passenger fee at airport starts Feb. 1

January 31, 2011
By CHRIS KNIGHT, Enterprise Senior Staff Writer

SARANAC LAKE - Passengers flying out of the Adirondack Regional Airport in Lake Clear on Cape Air's planes will pay an additional $4.50 per person beginning tomorrow, Feb. 1.

The town of Harrietstown, which owns and operates the airport, has received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to collect what's called a Passenger Facility Charge. The $4.50 charge will appear on each departing passenger's ticket from Cape Air.

Federal regulations allow for the collection of PFCs of up to $4.50 for every enplaned passenger at a commercial airport controlled by a public agency. The revenue has to be used to fund FAA-approved projects that enhance safety, security or capacity; reduce noise; or increase carrier competition.

Harrietstown Supervisor Larry Miller said the town plans to use the revenue from its fee to renovate the airport's terminal building.

"Depending on the circumstances, the board will probably bond against that revenue stream to do renovations to the terminal to provide more space for TSA and our passengers," he said at Thursday's town board meeting. "That was the intent of it."

Based on the number of enplanements at Adirondack Regional, which have averaged 6,000 to 7,000 per year, airport Manager Ross Dubarry estimated the $4.50 fee would create about $30,000 in revenue.

The town paid $19,000 to have its engineering firm file the paperwork and secure the necessary approval from the FAA to implement the fees. Miller said the town will get $14,625 back in the first year of the program.

The FAA has specific record-keeping requirements for PFC programs. Dubarry said he will submit quarterly reports to the FAA using an online electronic database. An annual audit of the funds has to be done each year by a third party, Dubarry said.

"Once we start receiving the money, we'll just enter the revenues received from Cape Air," he said. "We should expect the first check in early April."

Airport marketing

The town board approved Dubarry's plan to spend $1,540 to market the airport at this year's Lake Placid Horse Show.

Dubarry said information about the airport will be included in a mailing that's sent out to participants and attendees of the event. The town will also purchase two large banners promoting the airport, one of which will be hung at the horse show.

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Teamsters contract

In other business Thursday, the board voted unanimously to approve a new three-year contract with the union that represents town highway department workers.

The new contract gives the employees 2 percent pay increases in 2011 and 2012 and a 3 percent pay hike in 2013.

Miller said the workers, who are members of the Teamsters, initially wanted to switch to the town's health insurance plan but ultimately decided to stay with their union-provided health plan, which he said will be cheaper for the town.

Miller and Councilman Jim Murnane negotiated the contract on behalf of the town.

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Contact Chris Knight at 891-2600 ext. 24 or cknight@adirondackdailyenterprise.com.

 
 

 

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