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Potsdam plans jet fuel sales at airport

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POTSDAM — The village is seeking contractors to build a jet fuel pump at the Potsdam Municipal Airport.

The fuel will be sold to pilots and is expected to turn a profit for the village.

The pump will be funded through a $126,000 state grant awarded to the village last year. This money will likely be enough to cover the entire cost of the project, according to village Administrator David H. Fenton.

The village board unanimously approved a request for bids Monday.

The village first planned to install a jet fuel pump in 2012, but the project was stalled by a lack of proposals from contractors.

The original plan was to convert the existing fuel pump, which sells normal aviation fuel, to be able to provide both types of fuel, but further research showed the project would be more expensive than anticipated.

“The proposals for that were actually more expensive than using a whole new system,” Mr. Fenton said.

The village decided to delay the project long enough to secure state funding. Now that a grant has been received, work will move forward.

The LifeNet medical helicopter stationed at the airport is expected to be a regular customer. It now has to fill its tank in Massena, Ogdensburg or Burlington, Vt.

There are other regular airport users who would likely purchase jet fuel if it were available, according to Mr. Fenton.

“We’ve got three or four local people who use the airport right now, who could use that,” he said.

In other business, the board unanimously approved raising the cost to rent land at the airport from 39 to 40 cents per square foot.

Airport land is leased to individuals who build and maintain their own hangars. This decision will not bring in much money for the village, according to Mr. Fenton, but is the first step in what likely will be a series of gradual price increases.

“They’re undervalued now,” he said. “We’re just trying to gradually raise those up, so there’s not sticker shock.”

This does not affect the hangars owned by the village, such as the one occupied by LifeNet. Rent for these is charged separately, at a higher rate.

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