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Potsdam chooses new airport consultant after 20 years

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POTSDAM — The village has chosen a new engineering firm to oversee projects at the Potsdam Municipal Airport, ending its relationship with the firm they chose more than 20 years ago.

Passero Associates, Rochester, will replace longtime consultant C&S Companies, Syracuse.

By law, consultants must reapply every five years. The village board unanimously approved Passero’s selection Monday.

Four firms vied for the selection.

The choice does not mean Passero will receive any money from the village immediately, but as official consultants, they will be the first choice for any engineering projects at the small airport.

Administrator David H. Fenton cited several problems at the airport under C&S’s supervision, including ice buildup on the hangars.

In addition, the fuel system installed by C&S in 2006 has proven difficult to upgrade, adding extra costs to Potsdam’s plan to sell jet fuel.

“We found that the fuel system that C&S had engineered was not as easy to convert to another type of fuel as we had hoped for,” Mr. Fenton said.

C&S has nearly completed a study of tall trees that obstruct the approach to the runway, posing a possible danger to pilots. The firm will stay on until this study is complete, but Passero will get the contract to obtain the needed easements and remove or trim the trees.

This project is expected to last through next year.

Passero will also be responsible for overseeing the installation of a jet fuel pump, a potential money-maker for Potsdam. The village is seeking a grant from the state Department of Transportation to afford the $86,000 project.

The decision to hire Passero follows the creation of a five-year plan for the airport. After the obstruction removal and the jet fuel pump, the next priority is widening and repaving the runway, which has been patched up as much as it can, according to Mr. Fenton.

Passero has been working for Jefferson County at its airport in the town of Hounsfield for at least five years.

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