Commissioners delay hangar lease deadline

By Dean Wright -

GALLIPOLIS — Gallia Commissioners have agreed to continue discussions with airport hangar tenants who came before the commissioners the previous week with concerns over a new lease and its terms.

“We did extend the lease agreement deadline,” said Commissioner Harold Montgomery. “We moved it up to January 1. We’ve already had some meetings since then and there have been some issues we’ve (tenants and commissioners) been working together on.”

Originally, the lease would have taken effect Nov. 1 but the commissioners moved the deadline forward to address concerns tenants brought forth. Reportedly, airport hangar rentals operated under a non-written agreement for the last decade.

Tenants claimed 16 pilots were bound to leave the airport hangars and move onto other locations due to the terms of the lease and a raise in hangar rent. Among their concerns, tenants did not feel the hangar rentals were being issued at fair market value when compared to other local airports. Pilots felt hangars were not being maintained and communication with previous airport administration was not effective.

As owners of the airport, the commissioners said they had the final say over matters pertaining to the property. Tenants challenged that the airport was federally obligated due to the county accepting grant money to improve the airport’s conditions. Being federally obligated, the airport would be required to follow certain federal rules mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration. Some of the terms of the lease, tenants claimed, also did not meet those mandates.

Tenants during the previous meeting said they sent another lease form to the commissioners which they felt was more FAA compliant and commonly used in other airports.

Gallia Commissioners rehabilitated the airport’s runway over the last few years as part of a project totaling around $1.2 million. A grant from the FAA was awarded to the airport. The county provided a roughly $120,000 match in funding while the rest of the project was funded by the grant.

Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.

By Dean Wright