PLATTSBURGH — Clinton County legislators will seek to negotiate a better deal with car-rental agencies doing business at Plattsburgh International Airport.

They were considering deals with three agencies to lease space at the newly renovated airport to rent vehicles to passengers.

The agreement called for rent payments of $5.50 per square foot per month and 5 percent of gross sales.

Legislator Mark Dame (R-Area 8, City and Town of Plattsburgh) said he felt the rent figure was too low.

“We just built a million-dollar building and to get space for just $5.50 a square foot is too low,” Dame said.

“Yes, it is a service they are providing, but it is up to us to get the fairest price.”

SHARE OF GROSS SALES

Rent revenue, based on about 1,700 square feet for each of the three car-rental spaces (Hertz, Avis and Enterprise), would bring in about $28,000 per year.

Dame said the county will have to pay about $12,000 per year to the Town of Plattsburgh and Peru Central School District in taxes.

“That doesn’t leave much revenue,” he said.

The 5 percent of gross sales is estimated to bring in about $100,000 per year to the county through the lease.

Dame said the gross-sales revenue would be realized no matter where in the airport the car rental businesses were located.

They recently moved to the new space.

“That’s separate from the brand new building we are giving them,” he said.

NO EXPENSES

Dame said the county supports the airport with about $2.2 million per year in general fund money.

“Every chance we get to raise money at the airport to lower the burden on our local taxpayers, we should take,” he said.

“That building for the car rentals is brand new and there are no expenses for them. All they have to do is move their desks in. You could never find a place in town for that price.”

The car-rental sites have car-wash ports and space to clean and prepare cars for rent.

The airport budget will cover all utilities and maintenance costs.

“Taxpayers should not have to indirectly support these major corporations,” Dame said.

‘LEASE TOO LONG’

Legislator Robert Hall (D-Area 10, City of Plattsburgh), who chairs the county’s Airport Committee, said he understands Dame’s point.

“I agree with it somewhat, but we need car rentals at the airport,” Hall said.

Dame said he also did not like the county offering an eight-year lease to the car rental companies, saying it was too long to be locked into a deal.

“I can go along with it for a few years, but eight years is too long,” he said.

“The airport is going to continue to grow, and there is going to be a lot of business out there for them (rental companies).”

SEEKING LARGER SHARE

Simon Conroy (D-Area 4, Town of Plattsburgh) said the rent per square-foot might be low, but the revenue-sharing aspect of the deal would bring in more money to the county.

“That’s the key,” he said.

Legislators agreed to change the leases to two-and-a-half-year deals, and will have Airport Manager Chris Kreig seek an increase in the revenue sharing from 5 to 8 percent.

Kreig said the car rental agencies are busy at the airport.

“They do a fair amount of business, and we are happy to have them there,” he said.

Email Joe LoTemplio:

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Staff Writer at Press-Republican since November of 1985. Has covered just about all beats at the paper, including sports.Currently covers government and politics. Graduated from Plattsburgh State in 1985. Originally from Rochester, NY.