Stewart Industries International in Roswell, an aircraft storage and maintenance corporation, agreed Thursday to repay the city some $217,000 in overdue parking fees and rent by the end of the month.
“This principal will be paid in full by Friday of next week. It’s already been taken care of,” said President Tom Stewart. “You’ll all get paid up. We will work our tail off to keep current.”
The majority of the fund balance accrued after one of its largest customers, American Airlines, filed for bankruptcy and did not pay Stewart Industries. The airline finally emerged from bankruptcy when it merged with U.S. Airways Dec. 9.
The city also instituted new parking fees a few months ago, which added to the costs, said City Manager Larry Fry.
Stewart Industries is a Federal Aviation Administration repair station that services aircraft operations and helps them recover aging fleets. Services include storage, maintenance, aircraft dismantling, aircraft recycling and fleet procurements, according to the company’s web site.
The company owes the city nearly $232,000 in rent for five buildings, a hangar, equipment rental, a land lease, landing fees and parking fees.
Stewart told the Airport Committee at its regular meeting his company would settle the company’s balance with the city, but he wanted to discuss the city’s $39,000 interest charge on the overdue fees.
“There’s an interest issue that needs to be discussed. There’s some problems with that and I will address that,” Stewart told committee members.
Stewart met with city staff in a closed-door meeting to discuss the interest payment. He will have his comptroller audit the charge before sitting down again with staff to discuss the payment, said Roswell International Center Manager Jennifer Brady.
The company will make a $117,000 payment by next week, Brady said.
“In the meeting, he did indicate some of that would be in rents as well,” Brady said.
The company owes the city $11,231 for December and January rent for Hangar 84, but is current on all other building fees, Brady said.
“He is a good tenant,” Brady said. “He has had some trouble and it has affected some of the operations. But he has made some improvements to the facility and hasn’t asked for abatement on that. The improvements he has made has benefited all of us.”
The city was just looking for a plan from the company about when to expect payment, she said. “And he did that,” Brady said.
Brady said the city expects to receive the remainder of what is owed by the end of January.
Councilor Jason Perry, a committee member, said the company was very good for Roswell and Roswell is good for them.
“We’re glad that things are moving along and we’re all moving for the future together. Everything is going to be good,” Perry said.
According to Stewart, the company has spent $470,000 on Roswell International Air Center facilities without the city’s assistance. The company employs 93 personnel, he said.
“I think we’re substantial and we’re going to be here,” Stewart said. “We do have plans going forward. We like Roswell … I think that Jennifer Brady and (Mayor) Del Jurney are champions for the city. In hard times, they’ve worked with me personally.”
Councilor Barry Foster, a committee member, called for the issue at the meeting to get the information “out in the open.”
“You all are a great tenant. You all have done some great things to those buildings out there and we appreciate that,” Foster said.