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Loan will allow Paulding airport work to continue
by Tom Spigolon
November 26, 2013 12:38 PM | 2144 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Paulding County Industrial Building Authority last week voted to loan the board that oversees Silver Comet Field airport up to $1 million to continue construction on a variety of projects under way at the Rockmart Highway facility.

The one-year, no-interest loan will give the airport board time to decide which funding mechanism it will use to complete the projects, said airport director Blake Swafford.

“Several options are being considered,” he said, noting board members will need to decide by January on longer-term financing.

The authority has given several loans in the past to the airport for such projects as its new corporate hangar, a land purchase and environmental work to expand the terminal apron, Swafford said.

However, the one-year loan was approved after authority members last week opted to delay action on a request for a loan for expansion of the airport taxiway.

“They just wanted to make the best decision possible,” Swafford said.

Authority member David Austin said members did not have concerns about the loan, though he had questions about such items as its length and the status of a bond issue for the project that two Paulding residents have challenged in Paulding Superior Court.

“It wasn’t ‘concern,’” he said. “It was just there needed to be more time to think about things.”

Authority member Doris Devey said she simply needed more information on the proposed loan.

“We had a little bit of information on it prior to the meeting,” she said. “That’s why we wanted it removed [from the agenda] so we could discuss it to make sure we were doing everything the right way.”

Paulding residents Susan Wilkins and Anthony Avery filed to intervene in Judge Tonny Beavers’ validation of a $3.6 million bond issue for the taxiway. A hearing is set for Dec. 2.

In addition, Wilkins, Avery and five others filed a petition for review in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington which claims the Federal Aviation Administration gave environmental approvals for taxiway and runway expansions without analyzing the effects of commercial airline service, according to area news reports.

The residents had sought FAA action to halt the taxiway and runway work because environmental approvals were given before plans for commercial passenger service were made public in early October.

However, the FAA did not take action by a requested date, and law firm Sidley Austin LLP filed the petition that states the residents have an interest in the FAA decision because they will suffer adverse environmental effects from the airport’s expansion, according to an Atlanta newspaper.

In other airport-related action, the Paulding County Airport Authority heard from Joe Sarber of Paulding Jet Center – the airport’s fixed-base operator – who said his company served the first cargo aircraft in the airport’s history recently.

He also said the recent air show helped more than double fuel sales in October compared to September.

In another report, Branson Washington of Prime Contractors said permits should be given soon and steel erected by early January on the new 35,000-square-foot corporate hangar at Silver Comet Field.

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