After presentations, public hearings and pleas, the East Hampton Town Board voted on Thursday, June 19, to double the fuel fee at the East Hampton Airport, effective July 1.
The fee has was at 15 cents per gallon in 1992 and has not been changed since. Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, who sponsored the resolution, has said that research has shown that upping the fee to 30 cents is not unreasonable, and that many comparable airports have similar such fees.
Cindy Herbst of Sound Aircraft Services asked the board to reconsider. “If you pass the resolution put before you tonight that would impose a 100 percent increase in our fuel flow fee. Do so knowing that you are taking a giant and deliberate step toward debilitating and ultimately squeezing out a 24-year-old local business,” she said.
Ms. Herbst then proceeded to “put some faces and names to Sound Aircraft,” and introduced members of her staff to the board and the public.
“These are the people whose jobs are affected by the decision you’re making tonight,” she said.
Before seconding the resolution, Councilman Peter Van Scoyoc spoke up to say “This is really all about revenue, and trying to make the airport safe and continue the maintenance.”
Supervisor Larry Cantwell was the only “nay” vote on the board, saying that he believed that the increase to 30 cents was appropriate but, “I don’t think it should be done all at once,” he said. “I do think that’s somewhat unfair.”