LAKE PLACID - The North Elba town board will let a longtime customer at the Lake Placid Airport continue leasing a hangar now that he is up to date on back payments.
Tim Kelleher, who had been about two years behind on lease payments for a hangar, appeared before the board Tuesday night to explain why he was overdue on payments. After opening up to the board about the troubles his business has experienced in recent years, Kelleher asked if he could keep the hangar if he agreed to make his payments in advance.
"I've been a longtime tenant of the airport," said Kelleher, who has leased the hangar for 12 years. "That being said, these last three years, I've been struggling down south trying to keep a failing printing business going. ... Lost the battle, but was able to liquidate assets and stay alive.
"I apologize to the board and the town for being delinquent on the payments for the hangar rental. I did always pay it as I had the funds."
Kelleher said he's back on his feet, and he asked the board to extend his tenancy. He offered to pay up front but added he would understand if the board declined.
The board initially seemed to be against extending Kelleher's lease. Town Supervisor Roby Politi said the situation with the hangar went on for too long.
"We appreciate you coming and taking the time to do it," the supervisor said. "We have hangars down there and we want people to utilize the hangars for aviation."
Councilman Derek Doty said the board had to make a business decision. Councilman Jay Rand agreed.
"We spent a lot of time trying to chase you down," Rand said. "I think it's time to mull it over a little bit."
Doty said he's glad Kelleher survived the economic storm.
"We were forced to make a decision based on business, but your character is exemplary," he said. "At this time we need to take care of business."
"I'll be out by the end of the weekend if that's the decision," Kelleher said.
But by the end of the meeting, the board's stance softened. Ron Briggs, attorney for the town, said Kelleher recently sent the town a check that covered all of his overdue payments.
"This guy bared his soul to us tonight," Doty said. "I don't have a problem with swallowing hard and saying, 'You know what? Don't kick a guy when he's down.'"
"If I didn't have cancer, I wouldn't have such a bleeding heart," Politi said. "I don't think we'll ever have a problem with him again. ... My mother told me, 'You have to be compassionate.'"
The board agreed Tuesday night to meet with the village of Lake Placid at 4 p.m. Monday, Oct. 29, to discuss memorandums of understanding between the two municipalities.
The two entities have long-standing and unofficial agreements over maintenance of park areas, roads and sidewalks, zoning and building codes, and several other items. Briggs said those agreements should be codified and renewed on an annual basis so that future boards will have them in writing.
The Oct. 29 meeting is expected to take about an hour, although council members noted it could take longer depending on how many unofficial MOUs exist.
The board unanimously approved two resolutions declaring town equipment as surplus.
The first resolution lets the town give two older computers to St. Agnes School. Politi said the computers work and the school will be able to make use of them without having to make any costly repairs.
The second resolution officially declared the unused skateboard park equipment behind the Shipman Youth Center as surplus, which lets the town legally donate it to the village of Saranac Lake. Councilman Bob Miller said he will get in touch with Saranac Lake village officials and members of the Saranac Lake SkatePark Committee to begin discussions about when and how to move the equipment.
Contact Chris Morris at 518-891-2600 ext. 25 or email@example.com.