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September 13, 2010 - 10:44pm

Area flight school planning to set up shop at county airport

posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee 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."

Mark Potwora
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Bob Miller Flight Training for five years worth $8,469 annually.The school will use two offices in the terminal and lease two of the new tee hangars, when they're finished............................................ Thats only 700 a month...sounds like Bob Miller got a great deal for renting two brand new hangers...Seems like the county should get more than than that..Mr.Hens this is a good example as to why the airport should be private..A private company would run it to make a profit and wouldn't give out deals like this one.. "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.".....Duh Mr.Hens the roads are something we all use in this county everyday.The airport is only used by a select few.. What an elitist mentality..The airport is run with all taxpayer money..Federal mostly..Its still all our tax dollars.Its called pork.. Tell us all how many planes land and take off in the average day at this airport..And the county employees it takes to run it.Don't try to tell us that the government can run something better than private enterprise..
Peter O'Brien
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I want to know what it costs to learn.
Bryant Tyson
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I thought the buses that not everyone uses where run by a private co.? How can you compare that to the airport?
Timothy Hens
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Mark, we do run it to make a profit and have 8 out of the last 9 years. By the way, private airports get federal aid as well. Who do you think paid for the extension of the runway at LeRoy Airport? If you don't fly, you are not spending one cent of your taxpayer money for any airport. Federal aid is completely derived from airline fuel taxes and fees. There is no secret to how many county employees work at the airport. I have stated it in the past. There is an Airport Supervisor, a Senior Airport Attendant and two part-time Airport Attendants. All other county employees that work at the airport (snow removal, building maintenance) are billed to and paid by the Airport to the specific County Department they are assigned to. We do not keep track of actual landings and take-offs at the airport as it is a useless number and impossible to track due to night flights and multiple training approaches (touch and go). For the year ending Sept 2009, FAA estimates that there were on average 110 planes/day into or out of the County Airport. You are completely entitled to your opinion on the Airport. I just want to make sure that the facts are presented.
Timothy Hens
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Bryant- The Batavia Bus Service (a.k.a Bee-Line, Dial-a-Bus) is a subsidiary of the Rochester Genesee Regional Transit Authority (RGRTA). It is a federal and state subsidized Authority organized under NYS Law. Genesee County contributes is mortgage recording tax towards the operation of the Authority. Most of the other transit services provided regionally are either not-for-profit or private, but depend heavily on government programs for revenue.
John Roach
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I have a friend who has a plane and he does touch and go landings here once in awhile. He might do 5-10, so I can see where keeping track is useless.
Pete Belardino
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About time someone opened a school around here ! I've been taking lessons for years, all set for my checkride, and things fell apart at the school at Ledgedale ! My only other option is going to Rochester, paying higher prices, long drive times, and contending with the tower !! I hope Bob Miller does good there !! I'll be there !!!

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