Tuesday, November 21, 2017
News Roundup

Hernando Aviation Authority recommends approval of lease for Clearwater company

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BROOKSVILLE — Though its path has been complicated by numerous side issues, a Clearwater company won the recommendation of the Hernando County Aviation Authority on Thursday for the lease of an abandoned facility at Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport.

The authority voted 6-1 to recommend that the Hernando County Commission lease the site of the old Brooksville Air Center and another hangar at the airport to Corporate Jet Solutions, contingent upon the company providing some additional information.

The information, which airport manager Don Silvernell said was "rather minor," includes mostly financial details, such as a list of assets, a full credit report on company owner Tony Dye and an authorization allowing the airport to seek information regarding its past performance.

The County Commission is slated to consider the lease during a special meeting at 2 p.m. today.

Retired businessman Jimmy Lodato introduced the company's presentation Thursday, noting that it had been maligned and attacked as it tried to bring its business to Brooksville.

Aviation Authority Chairman Gary Schraut told Lodato that the authority simply wanted to hear the presentation. Another applicant for the lease, American Aviation, the airport's only fixed-base operator, dropped out of contention Wednesday.

Bradley Dye, father of the owner of Corporate Jet Solutions, said the company wanted to be in Hernando County because of its geographic location and its nearness to the Suncoast Parkway. An approval of the lease would mean an immediate 20 new jobs in a targeted industry, a flight school, increased takeoffs and landings, and increased fuel sales.

It also means the airport would have a second fixed-base operator, which has been a concern for some officials who worry that the airport doesn't do enough business to support two operators.

The proposal going to the commission includes performance standards that the company will have to meet to keep its lease, including required levels of flight school activity and fuel sales.

Aviation Authority members voiced frustration that they didn't get to see all of the information required of the company before making their recommendation.

After the meeting, Schraut said he would be sure the County Commission was aware of that frustration.

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1434.

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