BROOKSVILLE - The three suitors hoping to lease a vacant building on airport property gathered during a special Aviation Authority meeting Thursday but left still not knowing which will get the nod.
Aviation Authority members opted not to hear formal requests from the three companies, preferring to stick to a previously agreed-to timeline to give each a chance to give a polished presentation at a later date.
In making that unanimous decision, Aviation Authority members went against a recommendation from county commissioners who said at a previous meeting they wanted to move forward faster with the vetting process.
Commissioners were expecting to hear a presentation from the aviation authority at their Tuesday meeting. And if County Commissioner Jim Adkins can get a consensus from his colleagues, he will still ask that those presentations be made Tuesday. It's already on the agenda and there is no reason for further delay, Adkins said.
Adkins said he wants the Aviation Authority to review the applicants' presentations Tuesday, discuss it at their next two scheduled meetings and have a recommendation ready for the county commission by June 13.
Adkins said he will then try and convene a special meeting for 2 p.m. June 14 to award the lease to one of the three companies.
County Commissioner Nick Nicholson said he has no problem giving the Aviation Authority the time it needs to conduct a thorough vetting of the three companies. Nicholson said he wants the process done "by the book."
"We need to give everyone the opportunity and take the best proposal for the county and the airport," Nicholson said Friday.
Aviation Authority Chairman Gary Schraut said he is amenable to Adkins' suggestion if it keeps both the authority and commission in the loop.
"Anything that allows the authority to fully vet the applicants so we can share that input with them (county commissioners) will work," he said.
The three companies are Jet ICU, Corporate Jet Solutions and American Aviation.
The county bought the vacant, foreclosed building-hangar at 15421 Technology Drive for $1.25 million, hoping to recoup the money by leasing the facility. Airport Manager Don Silvernell was surprised three suitors came forward in only 30 days.
Jet ICU is a an air ambulance service which already has a facility at the airport. American Aviation, a fixed-based operator at the airport for more than 30 years, provides on-site aircraft maintenance, fueling and hangar space, among other things.
Clearwater-based Corporate Jet Solutions also offers aviation services.