By Monroe Roark
A new capital improvement
program for the Henry County Airport was approved at the Dec. 17
Board of Commissioners meeting, but not before a considerable amount
of discussion about the roles of various consultants involved in the
The Georgia Department of
Transportation requires jurisdictions with their own local airports
to submit a five-year CIP annually, and this one will extend through
the 2019 fiscal year, county manager Michael Harris told the board.
The document includes
proposed and speculative projects, and any project for which the
county desires federal funding must be on it, although the county is
not obligated to fund any projects for which agreements are not
already in place.
Projects that need to be
completed and are listed on the 2015 portion include land
acquisition and construction for the relocation of Mt. Pleasant Road
as well as work on a runway protection zone.
The total cost of this work
will be $4.671 million, although it was pointed out that the
county’s obligation is only 5 percent of that, or $233,550. The
state will cover 5 percent as well, with the remaining 90 percent
funded by the FAA.
A representative of Croy
Engineering was on hand to help with the presentation to the board,
but the discussion quickly was steered by Chairman Tommy Smith
toward the issue of whether LPA is still the primary consultant for
the airport work and why Croy, which has officially been the
secondary consultant, now appears to be taking the lead.
Smith said he brought up
these concerns because it was the last regular meeting of 2013 and
there might be FAA deadlines to meet, but he did not want to run
afoul of potential legal problems. He stressed that the county
needed to be sure to follow the process correctly and not jeopardize
There was about a half-hour
of discussion involving county attorney LaTonya Wiley and finance
director Fred Auletta, who was county manager during part of the
recent history in question. Wiley confirmed that the CIP could not
be pulled from the agenda because of the deadline looming at the end
of the year.
Once it was confirmed that
the resolution did not tie the county to any particular consultant,
Commissioner Brian Preston moved to approve and it passed 5-1. Smith
voted against, saying, “I’m doing this because I’m absolutely
confused” about whether the concerns he had brought up were
In other business, an
amendment was approved to an intergovernmental agreement with the
city of McDonough for the Jonesboro Road landscaping project. The
city will assume the county’s maintenance obligations under the
county contract with the state DOT, while the county will provide
paving services to the city in an amount equal to the landscaping
service cost, which county staff said would be about $60,000. The
McDonough City Council approved the same amended agreement at its
Dec. 16 meeting.
A condemnation settlement
agreement was reached for right-of-way at 39 Fairview Road, giving
the county control of property it needs for the Fairview Road
widening project. The $210,000 cost was deemed appropriate because
the property owner will have to make substantial changes to the
commercial site, moving all parking spaces from the front of the
property to the back and requiring some septic work as a result.
Wayne Powers was appointed county surveyor for
a four-term to last through the end of 2017. He has held the
position before, as pointed out by county election director Janet
Shellnutt. She added that the position was changed from an elected
one to an appointed one by local legislation a few years ago, but
state law still requires the county to have an official surveyor. It
is an unpaid position.