By ANDY GARDNER
MASSENA -- Town Supervisor Joseph Gray told the town council that Massena can save money on renovations at Massena International Airport by participating in a federal program that works with Ducks Unlimited on wetland mitigation.
The town is required by law to restore wetlands that are impacted or destroyed during municipal projects, but the federal program allows them to kick money into a Ducks Unlimited effort that restores efforts throughout the country.
“It’ll be a heck of a lot more expensive than $35,000,” Gray said of the cost should the town do its own wetland restoration.
Councilman John Macaulay was skeptical of the program, since Ducks Unlimited can put the money into wetland revitalization anywhere in the country – it doesn’t have to be a local effort.
“So the ducks don’t matter as long as the money’s there,” he said.
Gray noted that the $35,000 is already included in the airport project grant. It will pay for resurfacing Aviation Drive, clearing nearby obstructions (such as trees) that could pose a hazard to aircraft and building a new 10-bay hangar with necessary subsurface repairs. The four projects under the proposed 2014 budget will carry a $1,125,000 price tag. The FAA will pay $992,750 of that, New York state will chip in $26,125 and the local share will run at $106,125.