Erie, Ottawa counties seal deal

Griffing Flying Service set to move to Port Clinton
Andy Ouriel
Dec 30, 2013
The turbulence has lifted in a longtime disagreement between government officials and others overseeing the area’s largest public airport.

Commissioners from Erie and Ottawa counties and Erie-Ottawa International Airport board members finally signed a contract resolving many aviation financing issues.

The new pact replaces an outdated agreement signed in 1968.

A signed deal also ensures Griffing Flying Service, a longtime aviation provider in Sandusky, can move to the public airport in Port Clinton.

Among the contract’s main stipulations:

• Both sets of commissioners collectively vowed to provide $30,000 in taxpayer funds annually beginning in 2014 for the next five years. The $60,000 should help offset airport operational and maintenance expenses, totaling about $400,000 a year.

• Both county commission boards also agreed to equally share any federal aviation grants costs for improving the airport.    

Federal government grants typically cover 90 percent of all infrastructure improvement costs at public airports. County commissioners of Erie and Ottawa counties would then equally split the cost for the remaining 10 percent cost.

• Griffing executives pay a certain percentage of all fuel sales dispensed at the airport.

Once annual fuel sales surpass a certain threshold, then executives can actually earn a rebate of sorts for each gallon of gas sold. About 15 commercial Griffing planes should help spur fuel sales.

Erie County commissioners delayed signing a new deal mostly because of the fuel sales arrangement.

But officials and board members finally came to a consensus, allowing Griffing to finally relocate.

Griffing, overseeing a private operation, couldn’t obtain federal aviation grants, like the Erie-Ottawa International Airport can. This made it difficult for Griffing to compete with public airports receiving financial assistance.

“While it’s unfortunate that the Griffing family was forced to close in Erie County, we’re excited that they can continue to provide the quality aviation service to our area that we have enjoyed for many years” Erie County commissioner Pat Shenigo said.

Said Ottawa County commissioner Jim Sass: “It’s important both counties came together and supported this facility. This benefits both counties, the region and Northwest Ohio”

The airport recently changed its name, previously called the Erie-Ottawa Regional Airport, because pilots from areas outside the U.S. can now take off and land there.

Several calls placed to Griffing’s top executives went unreturned.

Griffing will boost airport
Despite Griffing Flying Service’s permanent departure from Sandusky, the private airport should still inject stacks of cash at its new destination in Port Clinton.

Local officials expect Griffing’s move to the Erie-Ottawa International Airport should create $102,000 of additional income at the public facility, according to a study done earlier this year. Additional planes lifting off and touching down in Port Clinton means more customers paying landing fees and purchasing fuel — all important factors in developing an airport.

Griffing executives also decided to invest $300,000 for a new hangar to house most planes — about 15 or so — the company deals with.

Also landing in Port Clinton: A maintenance shop so pilots can receive repairs on-site and a completely remodeled office for Griffing’s 15 full-time employees to work out of.

Comments

Restless1

Very sorry to see it go.

Whiskey Tango F...

If you aren't profitable in the private business sector, then you are nothing more than a tax burden to the public sector. 15 planes? How about 5? All this ensures is a Griffing monopoly in port clinton and they will chase all competition away essentially costing everyone more. Thanks for yet another good ol' boys business transaction. Let the Miller boat line run it. They have a first class operation.

FlyBoy86

How is it a monopoly?

booster

Did I read that right? Griffing has 15 FULL TIME EMPLOYEES. That is much more than I would have expected. Do they have 15 employees currently in Sandusky?

FlyBoy86

If you don't know how an airline or airport runs, don't comment.

Whiskey Tango F...

Some of us are quite aware of how an airport runs... Especially one run by flyboy86.

Fibber Mcgee

Why were they forced to close in Sandusky? (maybe I can't ask this question, because I don't know how to run an airport :)

Whiskey Tango F...

They were forced to close when metro parks didn't buy the land. If it can't stand alone as a business then they don't need to supplement them with tax payer dollars.

EricB

Yes, how were they "forced" to close in Sandusky? The article states that Griffing, overseeing a private operation, couldn’t obtain federal aviation grants. Is this the main reason they are moving. I don't think that Erie County should help a private company, that will be in Ottawa County, like Griffing, by providing $30,000 in taxpayer funds annually beginning in 2014 for the next five years. What will happen to Sandusky's Airport now? Will they look for someone to replace Griffing? Sorry to see this happen.

Fibber Mcgee

Thanks for replies. If Griffing owns the land in Sandusky can't they sell to whomever they want?

trafficman

Cedar Point buys it and puts in a Casino... "The Back Bay Betting Parlor".

BabyMomma

That. Would. Be. Sweet.

Mr. D

ericb, Erie County owns a part of the airport. They have an obligation to pay into the operations cost.

Nemesis

The Griffings just decided to go on the corporate welfare dole, and they should be ashamed to be flying that Gadsden flag in front of their house. Given that level of hypocrisy, I'd row to the islands before giving them any business.