Laundromat owner responds to threat of closure

Owner says wastewater rates were unfairly raised.

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Airport laundromat owner Nick Catt faces eviction. – MVT file photo

On April 12, the Martha’s Vineyard Airport Commission voted unanimously 5-0 to give Airport Laundromat owner Nick Catt 21 days to pay $140,000 owed to the Martha’s Vineyard Airport in back rent or lose his lease.

On Tuesday, in an email to The Times, Catt responded to the commission ruling, stating the laundromat has always paid its rent on time and that the $140,000 is for wastewater charges that have skyrocketed in recent years.

Airport Laundromat has a lease through 2026.

“On behalf of the Island community and the many businesses at the Business Park, we at the Airport Laundromat and the customers we serve are disappointed by the recent decision of the Martha’s Vineyard Airport Commission to disregard the needs of our Island community by taking ill-advised and hostile steps to evict the Laundromat from the Airport,” he said. “The commission’s decision demonstrates a lack of understanding of the needs of the Island community, our Island environment, and basic business principles.”

Catt claimed the airport has “arbitrarily and capriciously raised wastewater rates on Business Park tenants from $8.60 per thousand gallons of wastewater to $80 per thousand gallons, a 930 percent increase.”

The rate increase, according to Catt, goes against prior commitments made by the airport to secure long-term leases with non-aviation tenants. He also said the airport receives in excess of $1.25 million in annual rent, excluding water and wastewater payments, from its non-aviation tenants. After expenses, the airport profits $1 million a year from non-aviation tenants, Catt said. “And yet this is not enough for the airport,” Catt said.

Catt added that there are no requirements placed on the airport by the Federal Aviation Administration to recover expenses of its wastewater facility on any expedited, nonamortized basis.

“In sum, the Airport Commission would have the Island believe that its aviation customers are supporting the Business Park,” Catt concluded. “This is not true. In fact, it is the Airport’s non-aviation tenants (including the Laundromat), and the Island community that patronizes them, that are subsidizing aviation activity at the Airport.”

At the April 12 commission meeting, commissioner Don Ogilvie said Airport Laundromat takes up 44 percent of the capacity for the airport’s wastewater treatment facility, which the commission is under orders from the Department of Environmental Protection to upgrade.

 

1 COMMENT

  1. Its the OPPOSITE of what this delinquent tenant claims. The Aviation tenants don’t need the business park. If any of the business park tenants could find a commercial space available at the same rate or less off the airport, they would be there. The airport was given to the county via federal grant assurances. The airport gets further annual federal grants for operations, buildings, runways, upgrades, control tower etc. As part of the NATIONAL airspace system, its funded by the USERS (AVIATION) via fuel taxes collected all over the USA. The local airport further charges ramp fees, parking fees, tie down fees, landing fees, rent in the terminal (building paid for by FAA) etc etc. The airport makes a huge profit on the millions of gallons of jet-fuel and avgas sold. The rent collected in the business park is insignificant, and based upon what I have read, lots of it gets spent on litigation to fight frivolous lawsuits by tenants who choose not to abide by a lease. Make no mistake about it, the aviation users throughout the USA who FUND the FAA gave the county the land for FREE that you have your Laundromat on and created a subsidy that allows YOU to rent for cheaper than from a commercial landlord. Its really simple, if you could find a better deal off the airport, you would have shut the doors and left.

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