Airport Authority up in the air

A spokesperson for Mayor Stephanie Miner told CNY Central late Monday afternoon, the mayor will re-submit legislation calling for the creation to a Regional Airport Authority when it meets either October 25th or November 8th.


The Syracuse Common Council is once again reviewing the proposal to create a Syracuse Airport Authority, but it's unclear whether councilors will call for changes that some feel could derail the plan.

The Airport Committee met Monday morning at City Hall, but did not take action on a "Home Rule Message" that would request the State Legislature to approve the proposal to create an authority. Mayor Stephanie Miner withdrew the legislation last week after organized labor claimed that an authority might not adhere to an ordinance that requires companies doing business with the city to pay a "living wage."

Though the Corporation Counsel's office assured councilors that the living wage ordinance would apply, one labor leader, Bill Andrews, called for more specific language to protect airport workers.

Councilors also questioned the makeup of such an authority and how much liability Syracuse taxpayers would face it is created.

Lawmakers were warned that any changes to the legislation may require new negotiations with the Towns of DeWitt, Salina, and Cicero, the East-Syracuse Minoa School District and the North Syracuse School District over a tax agreement that cleared the way for the airport authority. Though Syracuse owns the airport, it is located outside the city's borders and pays taxes to other municipalities.

Centerstate CEO President Robert Simpson, speaking on behalf of a dozen businesses, called upon the Common Council to approve the home rule message as soon as possible. The business organization claims an airport authority would be able to reduce operating costs at the airport which would attract other airlines to Syracuse and reduce the cost of flying out of Hancock International Airport. Simpson said every year, passengers at Hancock pay $3.2 million in higher airfares than at airports in Rochester, Buffalo and Albany which are managed by authorities.

Airport Committee Chairman Pat Hogan will talk with Mayor Miner about rescheduling the airport authority home rule message for a vote. He did not know whether it would have to wait until after the November elections. The proposal to create an airport authority has been on the drawing board for more than a decade.