Airport project stalls
by Emily Adams
SYLACAUGA – City Clerk Patricia Carden asked the City Council for direction at Monday night’s work session after it has yet to award a bid for an approximately $358,000 project at the Sylacauga Municipal Airport.

The council has already approved grant agreements with the FAA and the state, and also with Barge, Waggoner, Sumner and Cannon consultants for the project to expand the apron and remove obstructions at the airport.

Barge Waggoner has designed the project and bid out the job for construction. The sole bid was up for approval at the Sept. 5 and 18 meetings, but failed for the lack of a second. Councilman Doug Murphree made a motion to approve both times.

Carden said the bid is not good indefinitely, and the city needs to know how to proceed.

“If you chose not to build it, I think you’re going to owe some money to at least Barge Waggoner for designing and engineering up to the point of getting it ready to build,” Carden said.

Councilmen Ken Horn and Manuell Smith said they would like to put off the bid until the next council takes over Nov. 5. Horn said that would be best because the airport would be borrowing FAA funding from its 2013 and 2014 allotments to fund the project.

Smith asked Carden to check how long the bid is good and report back to them.

The council also discussed replacing a leaking roof at the County Economic Development Authority building on Norton Avenue. A cost estimate was between $45,000 and 49,000 to replace the entire roof, or a lower option was given to address an asbestos issue. Horn, Smith and Councilman Walter Jacobson said they would prefer to have the entire roof replaced to get a longer life out of it.

Horn asked Councilman and Mayor-elect Doug Murphree for his thoughts, and Murphree said he would like to “wait until we find that $529,000 you’re talking about,” referring to the city’s current surplus that was a topic during budgeting meetings last week.

The council approved a budget for the upcoming fiscal year with a deficit of more than $411,000, largely in part to 5 percent raises for city employees requested by Smith. Horn responded to Murphree by saying the deficit will be filled using the surplus funds plus other various savings.

“We have that much excess money right now,” Horn said. “Our budget was figured low. We’ve got good sales tax coming in, good property tax coming in. We’ve had good business licensees coming in, and you’ve got more money than you expected. We didn’t spend no money we didn’t have already.”

Also at the meeting, the council discussed awarding a tax abatement to Heritage Plastics for a $15-17 million expansion project, renewing a property lease for the Sylacauga signs on 280 and expenses for various staff training courses.

The council meets Wednesday at 9 a.m.

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© 2012