JOHNSTOWN -An attorney representing one of the two Fulton County Airport hangars suing over what they see as unfair town assessments is trying to avert a state Supreme Court trial.
HangAir and R&R Aviation Supply own hangars at the airport off Route 67, but lease the land they are located on from the county.
Both hangar outfits are suing the town of Johnstown in state Supreme Court over what they claim are unfair assessments by the town on their operations.
Attorney Charles Tallent of Canajoharie is representing R&R Aviation. Attorney Garth Slocum of Ghent, Columbia County, represents HangAir.
Tallent, who represents R&R Aviation President Ron Rios, said Monday the parties involved are trying to work out an agreement averting a Supreme Court trial.
"No trial has been scheduled," Tallent said. "The HangAir attorney [Slocum] is making a motion to have his hangar declared tax exempt, which also applies to us."
A court notice of petition filed by Slocum July 30 stated he was seeking HangAir's taxable status to be "corrected, modified or vacated."
Tallent said both hangar companies are now waiting on a decision by Justice Richard T. Aulisi.
Slocum couldn't be reached Tuesday or this morning for comment.
R&R Aviation Supply Corp. notified the county Planning Department two years ago it intends to build another hangar at the airport property, which is owned by the county.
Even though county property is tax-exempt, town Assessor Katherine Oare felt the R&R operation should be assessed. She notified R&R Aviation in early 2011 the company's existing hangar should be on the town tax rolls.
Oare also indicated the new project planned by Rios - a 7,500-square-foot metal hangar with six bays and a separate 1,200-square-foot office and storage building - also would be subject to being assessed and taxed by the town. Rios delayed the second project, and his company sued Oare on July 27, 2011 in Supreme Court, protesting the $290,000 assessment of its existing hangar. HangAir is also involved in the litigation.
Tallent said Rios still wants to build his new hangar, but this litigation puts up a roadblock.
"It all depends on how it turns out," the attorney said. "The more activity at the airport, the better for the airport."
Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.