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Hangar rents to be discussed

The Aviation Authority will hold a special meeting on a proposed increase.

By SAUNDRA AMRHEIN

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 12, 2001


BROOKSVILLE -- The Hernando County Aviation Authority voted Thursday to hold a special meeting next week to address the proposed increase in rents for hangars at the Hernando County Airport.

Some board members said the scheduling of the meeting did not mean that they would change their minds about the proposed rent increase, only that they need to respond to the County Commission's demand for more information on the issue.

Earlier this year, the authority board approved a rent increase from $170 a month to $225 a month for T-hangar rentals at the airport. That includes a county-mandated $8.48 for fire-rescue service and $10 for future capital improvements. The remaining $207 is average rent for hangars at other airports in the region, said John Petrick, owner of American Aviation, which operates the hangars for the authority.

Crystal River's monthly rental rate is $115 for unenclosed hangars; Sebring Regional's rates range from $107 to $182; Clearwater Airpark charges $298 to $380; Ocala Regional charges $180 to $240, and Zephyrhills Municipal charges $175.

As for Hernando airport rates, the County Commission intervened this week after tenants called the rate increase unfair. The tenants complained that they were not given enough notice about the increases and that the maintenance on the hangars is shoddy.

County Administrator Paul McIntosh wrote a letter this week to Airport Manager Bob Mattingly telling him to halt the rent increase, scheduled to take effect June 1.

Aviation Authority members said it was the first increase in six years, a move the authority took after a year of discussions.

The discussion will continue at the special meeting at 4 p.m. Wednesday at the National Guard Armory at 16386 Spring Hill Drive. County commissioners will be invited, but they will not discuss the issue as a board to avoid violating the state's Government in the Sunshine Law.

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