Preliminary design and cost estimates for a consolidated rental-car maintenance facility at Toledo Express Airport in Swanton, Ohio, will be among the discussion items when the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority board of directors meets next week, according to The Toledo Blade.

A staff suggestion that the board's airport committee review the proposal and vote on it by proxy was aborted after The Blade protested that such a vote would violate Ohio's open-meetings law.

At issue is the port authority's consideration of a $21,000 contract with Rossi & Associates to schematically design a vehicle maintenance facility, meet with rental company representatives and develop cost estimates.

Each rental car company at the airport now maintains its own car washing, fueling, maintenance, and administrative functions.

"They're all getting old, and they're all spread out," says Airport Director Paul Toth. "We want to consolidate and modernize those functions."

The design contract is to be funded from revenue produced by a $1 per rental day "customer facility charge" that rental companies collect at the airport. The fee was instituted in 2002 to pay for expansion of the airport's rental car parking area and construction of a covered walkway between the terminal and the rental lot. The port board agreed in February to extend it to pay for the maintenance facility's design.

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