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Massena mayor says village will continue policing airport as talks continue

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MASSENA — Mayor James F. Hidy said Monday that he does not expect any flights will be canceled at Massena International Airport today due to a dispute between the town and village over providing security required by the Transportation Security Administration.

“There will be security at the airport tomorrow,” Mr. Hidy said Monday afternoon. He said he has met with Town Supervisor Joseph D. Gray and that “we will continue to meet until we get this rectified.”

Mr. Hidy added that it is possible there will be an agreement for village trustees to vote on when they meet tonight. Mr. Gray was unavailable for comment Monday.

“As long as the meetings remain ongoing, we will continue providing security at the airport,” the mayor said.

Last week Mr. Hidy said he was prepared to yank village police from the security detail unless the town signed an agreement guaranteeing the village would be compensated for the cost of police details during the daily incoming and outgoing flights.

Mr. Hidy said the burden of providing airport security is not an issue limited to Massena. Jefferson County is looking for an agency to help relieve the Sheriff’s Department of the responsibility at Watertown International Airport.

Mr. Hidy said that now that the village and town are communicating, he is optimistic about a solution.

“When people know the facts, it helps create better communication toward our goals, which is keeping the airport open,” he said. “I’m sure that between Mr. Gray and myself this situation will be resolved sooner rather than later.”

Mr. Gray meanwhile has reached out to TSA officials, who have said they would be willing to work with the town to ensure the airport stays open and security requirements are met.

“The exchange I had with the TSA was very positive,” Mr. Gray said recently. “They are willing to work with us to solve this problem.”

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