Board of Commissioners approves funding and design of runway rehabilitation and installation of fence at Jimmy Carter Regional Airport
Published 1:01 pm Thursday, July 13, 2023
AMERICUS – At its July work session on Tuesday evening, July 11, the Sumter County Board of Commissioners (BOC) voted unanimously to approve $3,750 for half of the match of the Airport Authority runway rehabilitation project.
Terrell Templin of the Americus-Sumter County Airport Authority explained to the BOC why he got a confirmation letter that listed the $700,000.00 fence at the airport.
“We have basically three funding sources for the airport: We get the money from the County Commission, we get the money from the city and we get money from our hangars. Those are the three places that we get money,” Templin told the BOC. He went on to say that 100 percent of the money that the airport gets for operating expenses is spent on things such as cutting the grass and paying the power bills and that the airport’s power bill is about $20,000 a year and it costs about $15,000 a year to keep the grass cut. Templin told the BOC that the money that it provides every month for the airport goes strictly to operation expenses and that it does not go to things such as capital improvements or maintenance, but just keeping the airport open. However, he added that what the airport gets from the BOC only partially helps to fund its operation expenses. “When we’re talking about capital improvements, that’s a whole different issue,” Templin told the BOC. “There’s a program the FAA sponsors called the Airport Improvement Plan. It’s the AIP Plan and they provide capital improvement money and that money is provided on a local matching basis.”
Templin went on to explain that 95 percent of this capital improvement money comes from the AIP Plan, but that the other five percent comes from local sources.
He added that the airport typically gets $150,000 of AIP money every year, but he added that the airport still needs a five percent match, which is $7,500.
Templin also added that the money the airport got for the installation of the fence was above and beyond the normal amount that they get every year and that they needed the fence to keep deer off the runway being that two planes hit deer on the runway and it caused substantial damage to the airplanes.
Templin went on to tell the board that they went to the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) and asked for $700,000 to put a barrier fence and consulted with qualified biologists as to how to control the deer in the area. According to Templin, the answer from the biologists concerning the deer was to put up a fence.
Templin mentioned all of the above to explain why the airport needs an extra $7,500, but added that this problem is going to come up every year.
“They are going to hopefully give us $150,000 a year and we are going to need five percent local match, which is about $7,500,” Templin told the BOC.
He went on to say that not all of the capital projects at the airport will be covered by the $150,000 and he stated that they have two capital projects that are scheduled for 2024-25 and 2025-26 that involve repaving and rehabilitating the runway and that each of those projects costs about $2 million to do. “We’re asking for funding. They haven’t granted the funding. They only do it on a yearly basis, but we give them a five year plan so they know this is coming,” Templin told the BOC.
He went on to say that GDOT is coming up with 95 percent of the $2 million, but that the other five percent must be funded locally. Commissioner David Baldwin suggested that all the BOC would need to do is approve half of the $7,500, which is $3,750 and that the City of Americus could do the same. Baldwin went ahead and made a motion to approve the $3,750, which is half of the match of $7,500 and Commissioner Clay Jones seconded the motion. The BOC voted and the motion carried unanimously.
There were other approvals that the BOC voted on unanimously in favor of at the work session. They are as follows:
- Approval to ratify the purchase of the animal control vehicle with a total cost of $69,370 ($10,000 – General Government – Sheriff Account; $59,370 – 2021 SPLOST – vehicles for public safety and other county departments). Commissioner Jesse Smith made a motion for approval and Commissioner Clay Jones seconded the motion.
- Approval to give Game Time, a playground equipment company, the bid to construct a playground over at Rock Hill Park at the cost of $139,852.89. Commissioner Smith made a motion for approval and Commissioner Jones seconded the motion.