Area flight school planning to set up shop at county airport
The Genesee County Airport will soon have a new tenant -- a flight school with locations in Dunkirk and Lancaster wants to start operations in Batavia.
The Legislature's Public Service Committee approved a lease Monday with Bob Miller Flight Training for five years worth $8,469 annually.
Legislators noted it will be the only flight school in Genesee County and the first at the airport since 2007.
The school will use two offices in the terminal and lease two of the new T-hangars, when they're finished.
During the public service meeting, County Highway Superintendent Tim Hens, noted that somewhere in the neighborhood of $13 million in federal funds have been spent on the airport since 1998.
During that same time, the county's share of airport expense has been about $350,000.
Hens said the airport has produced positive cash flow in all but one year during the past 12 years. The airport, from a county-expense viewpoint, has paid for itself, Hens said.
"I’ve always promoted the airport as being self-sustaining," Hens said. "When you look at the numbers total, it is. That’s not including all of the indirect benefits, the sales tax, the jobs."
Of course, there are critics who say the county airport should be a private business, not a public facility.
Hens sees the airport as just another hub in public transportation.
"Not everybody uses it, but not everybody uses the buses that run through town," Hens said. "Without it, there’s a piece of the community that's either not going to do business or they're not going to travel somewhere.
"We put four or five million dollars a year into our county roads and it doesn’t pay us back anything," Hens added. "But, if you didn't put the $5 million bucks into the roads, it's going to be a bumpy ride to the office and the kids are going to be unsafe riding on the school buses."