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Town ratifies Massena airport security agreement


MASSENA — Town Council members voted unanimously Wednesday night to pay back the village roughly $25,000 for security at Massena International Airport and extend an agreement for the village to police the airport for the rest of this year.

Supervisor Joseph D. Gray said an error in paperwork may be partially responsible for the money owed the village for last fiscal year.

“What we found was the village approved the agreement. We did not,” he said, adding the first agreement approved Wednesday night was made retroactive to Oct. 1, 2012, through Sept. 30, 2013. That agreement was based on the Transportation Security Administration approved rate of $68.25 per day.

“We’ve talked to TSA, and we may be able to get some retroactive reimbursement,” Mr. Gray said, adding he also had discussed with TSA alternative options for providing required security for incoming and outgoing flights at the airport.

Those talks, however, are now on hold due to the government shutdown.

“The people we need to deal with at TSA are on furlough,” he said.

Town Councilman John F. Macaulay questioned why the village wouldn’t want to continue providing the service.

“If you take that job away from those guys, they will still have to be paid,” he said. “Do they understand this is money that will be lost from their budget?”

As a resident of the village, Mr. Macaulay said, he doesn’t want to see his taxes go up because of the loss of police revenue for covering the airport. He also said he would feel more comfortable with a consistent law enforcement presence there.

“In my mind, we would be better off knowing the village police will be there every day,” he said. “The issue is we’re not going to pay $50,000 for them,” as the town had sought.

Councilman Albert C. Nicola wondered if the town still would be reimbursed if it switches to a guaranteed response time plan at the airport.

“We won’t get reimbursed unless they bill for it,” Mr. Macaulay said, adding that under a guaranteed response time plan, any branch of law enforcement could respond.

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