Lake City council members voted to extend the current lease for Haeco for another year

Published: Dec. 29, 2022 at 12:20 AM EST
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LAKE CITY, Fla. (WCJB) - Lake City city council members want to keep the current lease for Haeco aviation services despite city staffers negotiating new terms of the deal.

For more than a week, Lake City-city council members went back and forth on a new leasing agreement for Haeco aviation services.

RELATED: Lease negotiations continue between Lake City and Haeco Aviation Services

The deal reached by Haeco and city staff would have doubled the rent to $300,000 then increased by another $25,000 annually until it hit half a million dollars but that proposal was rejected by the city council. Instead council members voted to extend the current lease of $150,000 for another year.

Many Haeco employees fear the negotiations will leave many without jobs if Haeco decides to move elsewhere.

“How can you put a dollar figure on somebody’s life you know what I mean,” said Dale Touchton. “People are not going to stick around for a year hoping that we get a different response here. So they’ve already cost a lot of jobs. People are going to be jumping ships like rats watch and see.”

Rusty Raulerson said he and his family have been with the company for decades.

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“If you heard the committee members that went out there these past couple of weeks and they seen the family atmosphere it is out there. My daughter just started working out there, my brother worked out there for 23 years and my mom worked out there for 19 years.”

The company currently employs 630 people in Columbia county. Council members say they will discuss the leasing agreement again after getting an appraisal of what the airport property is worth.

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