Market value sought

Good deal for feds at airport not so good for county

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COEUR d'ALENE - The Kootenai County commissioners want to see the Coeur d'Alene Airport be as financially self-sustaining as possible.

So when the airport is in a position to make some money, the commissioners would like to see it happen.

Now that the U.S. Department of Defense is leaving an Army Reserve training facility on the Coeur d'Alene Airport grounds - leased for years for just a $1 a year - the U.S. Forest Service wants both the facility and the lease.

The facility is located just west and south of the Wyoming Avenue and Ramsey Road intersection. The land is owned by the county, and the building, which has been vacant for two or three years, is owned by the federal government.

On Friday, the commissioners ordered staff to inform the Forest Service in writing that the federal agency has to get a new lease and pay the market value, which would be more like $27,000 per year.

"Every new lease needs to be at market rate," said Commissioner Todd Tondee.

"I'd hate to walk away from $27,000 a year," Phil Cummings, interim airport manager, told the commissioners.

While the Forest Service says it's entitled to the old lease and its attractive terms, another federal agency, the Federal Aviation Administration, says the county is right and a new lease is needed.

Tondee said the negotiations will continue.

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