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Airplane with faulty landing gear headed for county airport

By Billie Owens

An airplane with malfunctioning front landing gear will attempt to land at the Genesee County Airport shortly. No ETA yet. The Town of Batavia Fire Department is being dispatched and Mercy medics are on scene. The airport is located at 4701 E. Saile Drive, Batavia.

UPDATE 10:47 a.m.: The plane already landed safely; no need for fire or EMS. The assignment is back in service.

Ribbon cut for new terminal, pancakes plentiful at Rotary Club Fly-in Breakfast

By Zachary Lee

Ribbon-cutting ceremony Sunday at new county airport terminal. From left, County Highway Superintendent Tim Hens, and members of the Genesee County Legislature, from left, Rochelle Stein, Marianne Clattenburg, Chairman Ray Cianfrini, John Deleo, Gregg Torrey and Andrew Young. Photo by Zachary Lee.

Local Legislature Chairman Ray Cianfrini had the honor of cutting the ribbon at the grand opening Sunday of the new Genesee County Batavia Airport terminal. It was open for the public to tour during the Batavia Rotary Club's annual Fly-In Breakfast on Father's Day.

Construction on the nearly $6 million terminal began May 2015. It's 14,400 square feet, compared to its previous footprint of the 12,800 square feet, and taller, too.

"This is a major upgrade from the old terminal, this is really beautiful," said Batavia resident Jim Owen.

The weather was hot and sunny and the airport was packed with families.

Some pilots left their planes open so people look inside and get a glimpse of the controls. Mercy Flight of Western New York brought one of its helicopters to the event and people got to see it up close.

"It has to be one of the biggest fundraisers we do here in Batavia," said County Highway Superintendent Timothy Hens.

(Photo of Mercy Flight of Western New York.)

Plane lands safely at airport after distress call

By Howard B. Owens

A single-engine airplane apparently reported electrical trouble and was planning on making an emergency landing at the Genesee County Airport.

The original call gave the plane a 10 minute ETA.

Within minutes of the Town of Batavia Fire Department being dispatched, an airport official called in and said the plane made a safe landing.

All Batavia units were put back in service.

County Airport is an Integral Part of Our Local Transportation Network

By Timothy Hens

Recent editorials in the Daily News, while defending the Genesee County Nursing Home, have been critical towards the funding of a new set of T-Hangars at the Genesee County Airport.  The usual airport slurs such as the "Rich man's playground" and the "Rich get richer" or "Benefits very few" are being used again.  It is important to remember that the Airport is an integral part of our local transportation network and critical to the continued development of the local economy. 

All of the residents of Genesee County benefit directly from the operations of the airport on Saile Drive just as they benefit from a well maintained system of roads and bridges.  In fact, it can be argued from a financial standpoint that they get back more than they put in.

In 2009, Genesee County spent $547,338.07 to operate its airport.  This money was appropriated from the General Fund, which is supported with the property tax levy among other items.  Genesee County staffs the airport and rents or leases property, hangars and tie-down spaces to private individuals and businesses.  In addition, the county sells fuel to based and transient aircraft.  These two revenue sources generated $581,455.12 in 2009 for a total surplus of $34,117.05.  A portion of this surplus, $15,008.05 was used to payback a shortfall in 2008 and the remainder, $19,109.00, was placed in a deferred revenue to be used to offset future airport expenses.  The shortfall in 2008, since paid back, was the first time since 2000 that the airport cost property taxpayers a single penny.

From an operational standpoint the County Airport is cost neutral to property taxpayers.  There is however a tremendous amount of economic and social impact created by the activities at the Genesee County Airport.  Boshart Enterprises and Aircraft Services operate from the Main Hangar at the airport.  This is a successful private business that employees several people.  Several prominent local companies such as Milton Cat, Innovative Energy, Lowe's, National Grid, Western New York Energy and others rely on the airport to run their business.  Mercy Flight houses a aeromedical unit and helicopter at the airport that allows them to respond within minutes of an accident in Genesee County.  In addition, although some events are no longer hosted, the airport supports local community services by hosting pancake breakfasts, meetings, educational tours and other promotional events.

The county does a significant amount of capital development at the airport as well.  Most of these projects are funded with federal and state aid--to the tune of 97.5 cents on the dollar.  These federal and state funds are not generated by income or other payroll taxes, but through fees assessed only to airport businesses and air travellers.  These Airport Improvement Program (AIP) grants fund everything from security improvements to runway maintenance and generate and support local jobs when work is awarded at the airport.  Since 2005 Genesee County has contributed $73,129 towards AIP projects and by doing so has leveraged nearly $3 million in infrastructure improvements.  That is $3 million pumped into the local economy via jobs, supplies and services.  The county share of these projects is funded with a portion of the 1% additional sales tax the county collects to fund capital projects and pay long term debt.  The average annual contribution of sales tax to the airport is $14,625.80, which is typically less than the surplus produced by airport operations.

From time to time the county also receives grants from the state to pay for facility improvements, which are not otherwise eligible for federal aid.  The Mercy Flight hangar, a 10-Bay T-Hangar constructed in 2008 and the most recent 8-Bay T-Hangar all are partially offset by state aid.  Both sets of T-Hangars received $300,000 grants that were a part of the 2005 Transportation Bond Act that was approved on a ballot by NYS voters that year.  The remaining portion of the hangars is funded locally.  In 2008, $78,995 was contributed from the airport's deferred revenue account to fund a portion of the remaining share of $395,000.  The payback on the county's investment of approximately $300,000 in each case is about 10.4 years based solely on revenue generated from the rental of the hangars--even less when you factor in additional fuel sales.  Not a bad return on investment for county taxpayers.

So while I can truly appreciate folks trying to garner support for the County Nursing Home and its current and future residents, it is not fair to label the Airport as "Bad" for the County.

Airplane flips at Le Roy airport

By Brian Hillabush

The Genesee County Sheriff's office received a phone call at 11:23 this morning from the Le Roy Airport.

A plane slid off the end of the runway and flipped over, according to dispatcher Steve Robinson.

There was one person inside the plane and no injuries were reported. Deputies are still on the scene investigating.

News roundup: Batavia high school sports red hot

By Philip Anselmo

From the Daily News (Tuesday):

• Rich Baird stepped up at Monday's game versus Eastridge and threw a no-hitter to take his record to 4-0 for the season. The Blue Devils won that match 11-1 — the one run for Eastridge came when two errors and a walk loaded the bases and "a fielder's choice knocked in the run," writes reporter Brian Hillabush.

• Batavia senior Mike Spiotta won the Section 5 golf championship for 2008 with an even-par 72 at Stafford Country Club Monday. Hillabush writes: "Spiotta will lead a group of nine Section 5 golfers at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Tournament June 1 and 2 at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Course at Cornell University."

• Muckdogs General Manager David Wellenzohn is pleased with the team's opening day sales Saturday. Reporter Joanne Beck tallied "130 tickets and four season tickets, 13 coupon books and three ticket packs." Wellenzohn sat atop a scissor lift out front of the stadium from Friday to Saturday morning — a stunt likely intended to bring people down.

• The Daily News followed-up on news that city police Lt. Eugene Jankowski is out of the running for the police chief position — a story that broke at The Batavian yesterday. There was nothing new to the story to report. City Manager Jason Molino was unavailable for comment.

For the complete stories, the Daily News is available on local newsstands, or you can subscribe on

News roundup: New airport hangar

By Philip Anselmo

Check out WBTA for this and other stories:

• A new hangar will go up at the Genesee County Airport, and it will cost some $695,000. The county legislature approved the contracts to two Rochester firms and another from Fishers. A state grant will cover $300,000. The hangar will have ten bays that the county will rent out for between $280 and $350 per month.

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