The design of the new complex mixes wood siding, stone and plenty of windows on the outside and exposed wooden beams and support posts and piping on the inside. “They [sic] way we look at it, it is the gateway to the Adirondacks,” said [OC Aviation Commissioner] Stark. “It is upstate New York.”The terminal consists of two buildings that are connected.
The smaller building is a one-floor structure to be used by US Customs for incoming "international" flights -- of which there are none regularly scheduled, although planes occasionally come in from abroad for maintenance by MidAir USA or Premier Aviation. (You remember MidAir, the company that just got evicted from one of its hangers for being over $700,000 behind in its rent - the company that is expanding in Florida, but not here in Rome.) Now MidAir, Premier, and private pilots will no longer have to divert flights to Syracuse or wait for customs agents to arrive from Syracuse.
The larger building is a two-floor structure with the top floor housing airport administrative offices and car rental.
The bottom floor is really cushy! It is entirely occupied by Million Air, the County's fixed base operator (FBO), that caters to "general aviation" needs - i.e., private pilots, private aircraft and their private passengers. Per the Sentinel . . .
In the center on the ground floor is the Million Air service desk. There’s a conference room, as well as a cafe. There are three seating areas, with wall-mounted flat-screen televisions. Adding to the warmth of the seating areas are two double-sided gas-burning fireplaces. Additionally, pilots will have access to a space with computers linked to the internet for flight planning. There’s a theater room to help them fill in wait times before takeoff. If a nap is desired, there are two rooms where pilots can catch a few winks.Nice!
The terminal cost $7.1 million dollars to build. After a $500,000 grant (from taxpayers), Oneida County Taxpayers are on the hook for $6.6 million . . . plus the annual cost of a customs agent of $160,000 per year. Of course, revenues will be coming in from terminal tenants. OC Taxpayers will rake in a total of $138,400 annually from rents. I.e., the rents coming in will not even cover the cost of the customs agent. (Don't even think about the debt service on the structures).
But won't it be worth the convenience of being able to fly out of Rome instead of schlepping to Syracuse or Albany to catch a flight to Disney World, or Vegas, or to visit Aunt Martha in San Diego?
There are No facilities for scheduled commercial flights . . . No ticket counters . . . No luggage carousels . . . No waiting rooms for You. You, the OC taxpayer, will continue to schlep to Syracuse or Albany. You, the OC Taxpayer, will continue to pay among the highest sales and property tax rates in the country to finance sumptuous and convenient facilities for the corporate welfare takers and regional elite.
Per the Sentinel . . .
Majority Leader Joseph [sic] E. Joseph, R-10, Westmoreland, said the county has been a “good steward” of the millions of federal, state and county dollars invested at Griffiss since the Air Force moved out and the county airport moved over from Whitestown.It is not being a "good steward" to secure millions from other levels of government only to saddle County Taxpayers with additional costs to support an infrastructure that is far too large to be justified by our regional population -- which is dropping.
No matter what we build to "attract" others here, we have totally failed to fix the fundamental problems that drove our own people and businesses to other parts of the country. Those forces of repulsion are still there. One of the forces of repulsion is our high rate of taxation -- now just made worse by our building new infrastructure that only serves private interests.
It's time for OC to put Joe and Jean Taxpayer first. Only then will we see real economic growth.