Tie-down fees draw pilot complaint

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PARIS — A local pilot appeared before the Oxford County commissioners on Tuesday to seek action on tie-down fees at the Oxford County Regional Airport.

John L. Palmer of Oxford said the monthly tie-down fee at the airport was increased from $15 to $30 without approval by the county board. Oxford County owns the airport in Oxford, but Oxford Aviation runs an aircraft painting and refurbishing company on site and serves as the fixed-base operator.

Oxford Aviation sent the commissioners a comparison of tie-down fees at 12 other airports in Maine and New Hampshire. The company says the fees range from $28 at Hancock-Bar Harbor Airport to $77 at New England Aviation in Sanford, with an average of $46.33.

Palmer disputed the prices, saying some airports such as the Auburn-Lewiston Municipal Airport base their fees on the weight of the aircraft. He said other airports include courtesy services with the fee.

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Chairman Steve Merrill said he did not recall receiving notice of any fee increases. County Administrator Scott Cole said the fees are subject to review by the commissioners, but not approval.

“I think what the county ought to do now is write a letter and say there’s been no review of fees, and we should reference Bethel [Regional Airport] at zero,” Cole said.

Palmer also told the commissioners that he would like to build a hangar at the airport if it does not interfere with Oxford Aviation’s business. The commissioners unanimously voted to have Cole begin an informal consultation with the Federal Aviation Administration on the matter.

mlangeveld@sunjournal.com

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