By DAN GUZEWICH Staff writer

After a brief unplanned landing, the county airport is again winging its way toward a new master plan.

The Oneida County Board of Legislators was asked to approve paying C&S Engineers, Inc., North Syracuse, $520,028 to prepare a document that takes a broad look at Griffiss International Airport and its future growth. The county share is estimated at a maximum of $39,002. The project is contingent on the Federal Aviation Administration coming up with slightly more than $468,000. The remaining portion will come from the state.

The proposal was defeated when it first came before the Airport Committee in June, but was brought back for reconsideration July 31, as allowed by board rules. Originally there were questions about why C&S was selected from among the airport’s list of four preferred consultants and why not one of the others was offered as an option. Also, some panel members were of the opinion that the airport should have sought firms’ qualifications through a public process.

These, and other, issues were aired at a previous committee meeting, and in the end the agreement passed 8-2 with one absence. The first vote was four in favor and six opposed.

Action on the matter is likely. The Ways & Means Committee considered the proposal today.

The last master plan was done in 2000 — seven years before the airport moved from Whitestown to the former Griffiss Air Force Base. Airport master plans are not required to receive money from the Federal Aviation Administration for improvement projects. Funding eligibility is based on the content of a FAA-approved airport layout plan, which can be prepared separately or as part of a more comprehensive master plan. The purpose of the airport layout report is to define the current, short-term and long-term needs of the airport.

A full-blown master plan is being pushed by the county because there has never been one that focused only on Griffiss Airport and the FAA would prefer not to consider Griffiss projects going forward on a case-by-case basis. The FAA recommends that a master plan be completed or updated approximately every five years.

Minority Leader Frank D. Tallarino, D-7, Rome, asked if the master plan would include business forecasts from Premier Aviation Overhaul Center. He said the master plan needs to have information from Premier, which is a major tenant at Griffiss. It leases three large hangars, and office space.