JOHNSTOWN - A Fulton County Board of Supervisors committee last week voted 4-2 to extend a lease payment due date for another six months to a private business that wants to build a new hangar at the county airport but is tied up in litigation with the town of Johnstown.
The Board of Supervisors' Buildings and Grounds-Highway Committee voted to extend until June 30 the first $1,100 lease payment from R&R Aviation to the county. The payment was due Jan. 15. The company is in violation of its lease with the county.
Voting for the extension were Johnstown 1st Ward Supervisor Richard Handy, Ephratah Supervisor Todd Bradt, Stratford Supervisor Robert Johnson and Gloversville 5th Ward Supervisor Michael Ponticello. Voting no were Mayfield Supervisor Richard Argotsinger, committee chairman, and Johnstown 2nd Ward Supervisor Michael Kinowski. Abstaining was Johnstown Town Supervisor Nancy MacVean.
"I don't see any reason to change the [lease expiration] date," Kinowski said.
The full Board of Supervisors will decide on the extension Feb. 13.
County Planning Director James Mraz said R&R Aviation has an existing hangar at the airport, but the county also entered into an arrangement with R&R Aviation to lease a 45,000-square-foot parcel to build a new hangar to store planes and house an office module.
He said the company wants the annual lease for the new parcel extended until June 30 because it's still involved in litigation.
"It's the basis of the request that's been submitted," Mraz said.
Johnstown Town Assessor Katherine Hillock notified R&R Aviation in early 2011 the company's existing hangar should be on the town tax rolls. She indicated the new project planned by R&R President Ron Rios - a 7,500-square-foot metal hangar with six bays and a separate 1,200-square-foot office and storage building - also is subject to being taxed by the town once it's built. Rios delayed the second project, and his company sued Hillock on July 27 in state Supreme Court, also protesting a $290,000 assessment of its existing hangar.
Mraz said Rios hopes to resolve his legal issues with the town in the next few months.
"He's struggling to figure out what to do here if the building is ultimately going to be taxed," Mraz said. "He's probably not going to build the building."