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October 6, 2013

Council could vote on L-3 lease

GREENVILLE — The Greenville City Council could vote Tuesday to approve a new lease with L-3 Communications Integrated Systems concerning Majors Field Municipal Airport.

The lease agreement also includes a maintenance and operations agreement, under which L-3 would take over most of the operations at the airport.

The council is scheduled to consider approving the lease as part of Tuesday’s regular session agenda, starting at 6 p.m. in the Municipal Building, 2821 Washington Street. A work session is also scheduled for 5 p.m. Tuesday.

L-3 Communications would pay millions of dollars per year to lease property at Majors Field, under the proposed 30 year lease agreement with the city.

The funds from the lease would be directed back to keeping the airport as a self-sustaining facility.

In turn, the defense contractor would take over almost all of the operations at the airport, including the city’s terminal building. L-3 may be planning a significant expansion at Majors Field, and would be allowed to establish an alternative permitting process for new structures at the facility, bringing in more revenue which would be directed toward the city’s general fund.

Currently, L-3 is paying $72,500 per year for its lease of 610 acres at the airport, under an agreement reached in 1977, which expires in 2017.

Under the agreement, L-3 would be paying a total of a little more than $3 million per year to lease almost 708 acres at the airport, with the initial lease running to Sept. 30, 2016. The primary lease would take effect the next day and run for 15 years, followed by three five-year options.

The amount of the lease would gradually increase from $3 million to just over $5 million per year during the length of the agreement.

The company would take over most of the fixed base operations at the airport and in return would receive a credit on their rental agreement. The city would still see a net of almost $26 million dollars over the length of the lease.

Under the agreement, L-3 would hire a full time employee with security clearance who would be responsible for handling all of the permits associated with future building expansions at the airport, rather than seeking permits through the city directly. In exchange, the company would pay the city $500,000 per year, money which would not be tied to the airport, resulting in approximately $15.5 million in revenue over the length of the agreement.

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