Tuesday, December 12, 2017
News Roundup

Hernando Aviation Authority refuses to speed up process of leasing airport facility

BROOKSVILLE — The Hernando County Aviation Authority on Thursday unanimously declined the County Commission's request to speed up the process of leasing the site of the old Brooksville Air Center at Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport.

Earlier this month, the authority asked for detailed proposals by interested companies by June 3 so board members could read them, prepare questions and hear full presentations by their June 13 meeting.

But last week the County Commission pushed to move up the decision-making process. Commissioners did so after Bradley Dye of Corporate Jet Solutions, a Clearwater-based aviation maintenance business, told them that airport officials were discouraging his company's effort to expand its business at the Hernando airport.

Dye told them he was suspicious that airport officials were trying to discourage competition at the airport.

To give Aviation Authority members a chance to review proposals before they go to the County Commission, a special meeting of the authority was called for Thursday, and Dye and his company's team was invited to make presentations, along with the other two companies now vying for the lease — American Aviation, the airport's fixed-base operator for more than 30 years, and Jet ICU, an air ambulance company based at the airport.

The authority was expected to hear the presentations, then make a recommendation for the commission to consider on Tuesday.

But no one got to give a presentation after the Aviation Authority decided to return to its previous time line.

Members said they wanted to have time to review all of the information in the proposals, hear full presentations and fully discuss what they consider an important decision.

County Commissioner Jim Adkins, who pushed for the earlier decision, said late Thursday that he found out after the last commission meeting that a quick decision was not critical and he was fine sticking with the Aviation Authority's original time line.

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