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County moves forward
with airport work


By Monroe Roark
Times Correspondent 

  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 work.

  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 FAA funding.

  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 resolved.

  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.



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