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Airport funding controversy to be aired tonight

The finances and future of Warren County's Floyd Bennett Airport is the focus of a special public meeting at 7 p.m. Monday July 8 in Crandall Library's Community Room. An area taxpayer's advocacy group has questioned operating expenses of the airport, particularly a runway extension that is expected to cost $8 million, a sum to be bankrolled primarily by federal grants.

The finances and future of Warren County's Floyd Bennett Airport is the focus of a special public meeting at 7 p.m. Monday July 8 in Crandall Library's Community Room. An area taxpayer's advocacy group has questioned operating expenses of the airport, particularly a runway extension that is expected to cost $8 million, a sum to be bankrolled primarily by federal grants. Photo by Thom Randall.

— A public meeting focusing on the costs of operating Warren County’s airport is set for 7 p.m. Monday July 8 at Crandall Library in Glens Falls.

The night meeting was scheduled by Warren County supervisors to accommodate repeated requests from members of the local group Upstate New York Taxpayer Advocates, who have said the night meeting would be more convenient for area residents.

The meeting was organized as of July 3, and members of the advocacy group have expressed dismay over the short notice.

The meeting is intended to include discussion over the planned expansion of a runway from 5,000 to 6,000 feet at a cost of $8 million, a sum to be shouldered primarily by federal grants.

The extension has raised considerable controversy, as citizens have noted that many airports that accommodate commercial flights have far shorter runways. County supervisors, however, have argued that the runway extension is necessary to maintain Warren County’s Floyd Bennett Airport’s federal “FAA Part 139” certification. County officials have also contended that such certification allows larger planes and jets to land, and that the Part 139 certification boosts the airport’s prospects for new grant funding.

Taxpayer advocates have questioned such claims, however, noting many other busy, successful airports have been operated without such certification, and at a far lower annual cost. Also, expanding the runway means local taxpayers will be required annual to shoulder higher continuing expenses, primarily repair and maintenance, they have said.

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