By ANDY GARDNER
MASSENA -- The Town Council and Village Board of Trustees signed a six-month extension to have Massena Village Police present at all take-offs and landings at Massena International Airport through June 30. The current deal, signed in October, would have expired Dec. 31.
The contract calls for the town to pay $68.85 for a police presence at three flights per day, seven days per week, for one hour each. The figure is one-third of the actual cost, which is the current Transportation Safety Administration reimbursement rate. Town Supervisor Joe Gray said the town has a pending application with the TSA to make up the shortfall.
Gray said the town is pursuing approval from the TSA to not have village police present at each flight.
“It’s a work-in-progress … it’s a matter of us getting our ducks in a row,” Gray said, adding that they are working to provide TSA with facts and figures about local law enforcement and their response times.
One option is to have airport personnel call 911 if they need law enforcement.
“Based on information we have, we expect a police agency to be there in three to four minutes,” Gray said.
The town could make arrangements with other agencies to cover flights on a rotating basis.
“It would take coordination, obviously, we need cooperation from other agencies in the area,” he said. “We have a lot of law enforcement here … in the Massena area.”
A third option is to not have every flight policed.
“There are different forms this could take … I’m working with the TSA,” Gray said. “It’s not a definitive ‘no.’”