MINUTES

SPECIAL CALLED MEETING

GLYNN COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS

HISTORIC GLYNN COUNTY COURTHOUSE

701 “G” STREET, 2ND FLOOR, COMMISSIONERS’ MEETING CHAMBERS

THURSDAY, MARCH 14, 2013 AT 2:00 PM

 

PRESENT:                     Mary Hunt, Chairman, District 4

Dale Provenzano, Vice Chairman, District 2

Michael Browning, Commissioner, District 1

Richard Strickland, Commissioner, District 3

Allen Booker, Commissioner, District 5

Bob Coleman, Commissioner, At Large Post 2

 

ABSENT:                      Clyde Taylor, Commissioner, At Large Post 1

 

ALSO PRESENT:           Alan Ours, County Administrator

Aaron Mumford, County Attorney

Cindee Overstreet, County Clerk

 

 

Discussion and consideration of the following:

 

1.         Discuss amending the Airport Commission Ordinance

 

Chairman Hunt explained the process for amending the Airport Commission Ordinance. The County Attorney would draft the ordinance, it would then be sent to the Economic Development Authority, and then to the Airport Commission for review. Once each party has reviewed and commented on the proposed ordinance the County would hold a public hearing and consider the amendment.

Chairman Hunt said she would like for two tenants to serve on the Airport Commission. There are currently seven Airport Commission members. She felt adding two tenants would continue to allow an odd number of members, which would allow a majority vote. She proposed that the tenants abstain from voting on leases. Commissioner Strickland said he would like to amend the ordinance to allow one tenant to serve on the Airport Commission. Commissioner Browning agreed that two tenants should be allowed to serve. Commissioner Booker recommended three tenants serve on the Airport Commission. Commissioner Strickland also suggested allowing a County Commissioner to serve as a member of the Airport Commission just as it does on several other committees and boards in the county.

County Attorney Aaron Mumford listed several airports that have tenants serving on the Airport Commission. The list included St. Mary’s, Calhoun, Jackson County, Winder, Americus, Cuthbert, Thomaston, Cartersville, Perry, LaGrange, McRae, and Eastman.

County Administrator Alan Ours said the Board had several options to consider. One alternative was to bring the Airport Manager and staff under the direction of the County Administrator and have the Airport Commission serve as an advisory board much like the current Mainland Planning Commission and Islands Planning Commission. He offered to conduct research and provide the Board with other alternatives for structuring the airport management and oversight.

Bill Brunson, Vice Chairman of the Airport Commission, reported that Laura McKinley, former Chairman of the Airport Commission, had resigned two hours earlier during the Airport Commission’s meeting. Mr. Brunson said Airport Commission Manager Steve Brian also resigned and the Airport Commission accepted his resignation under the terms of his employment agreement. He said timing could not be worse. The Airport Commission will soon receive a $12 million grant and he felt the grant may be in jeopardy. The grant is for replacement of the large runway and there is not a Plan B. He said the FAA will not allow airplanes to land on the runway if the grant is not received. The Airport Commission was working on a transition plan, which included allowing Steve Brian to act as a consultant to provide administrative support for the upcoming federal and state grants to rehab the Brunswick-Golden Isles Airport Runway/Taxiway, the execution of the fire suppression system rehab project, and the execution of the Brunswick fence replacement project. Mr. Brian has agreed to act as the consultant on these projects.

Chairman Hunt asked Mr. Brunson his opinion of appointing tenants to serve on the Airport Commission. Mr. Brunson said the main responsibility of the Airport Commission was to consider aviation leases and having tenants on the Commission could be a conflict of interest.

The Commission discussed possibly having the Airport Commission under the umbrella of the County, rather than the Brunswick-Glynn County Economic Development Authority. Mr. Brunson said the Development Authority has the necessary funds to finance the projects.  He said it was his opinion that the relationship between the two has worked extraordinarily well.

Nathan Sparks, Executive Director of the Brunswick-Glynn County Development Authority, said the current arrangement between the Airport Commission and the Economic Development Authority is unique. He said the critical mission of the Development Authority is to create jobs. He said the Development Authority does not have the expertise to manage the aviation leases and the Airport Commission has been a great partner of the Development Authority.

Renn Gruber, President of Gruber Aviation and President of the Tenant’s Association, suggested that tenants from the Brunswick airport, the St. Simons airport, and a representative from the Tenant’s Association serve on the Airport Commission. He also recommended the Airport Manager position be replaced by two separate positions, one to oversee airport infrastructure operations and another to attract new customers to the airport and increase ridership on ExpressJet.

Jeff Caldwell, lessor of a hangar at the McKinnon Airport, recommended restructuring the Airport Commission so the users would have a voice.

Joe Yurkus, pilot and hangar user, said the voices of the tenants needed to be heard and the Airport Commissioners needed to read and be knowledgeable of the FAA regulations.

 Scott McQuade, President and CEO of the Brunswick-Golden Isles Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the commercial component of the airport is very important.

Phillip Gleason, owner of a hangar, said the FAA regulations need to be provided to the Airport Commissioners.

Mike Pickett, pilot and former airport commissioner, suggested having two airport managers, one for each airport.

Woody Woodside, President of the Chamber of Commerce, recommended the community move forward and suggested also that the Development Authority and the Airport Commission be allowed to do the work they were created to do without the local government micromanaging.

Jeff Coleman, aviation consultant, recently developed a guide book for developing a general aviation business plan. He said the industry encourages diversity on the Airport Commission. In response to earlier comments, he said he doubted the Board of Commissioners had read all of the County Commission’s codes.

Chairman Hunt asked County Administrator Alan Ours to provide the structure plans of other airports and include the pros and cons of each, if possible.

Commissioner Provenzano said the Airport Commission is made up of volunteers. They haven’t had to come to the Board of Commissioners for funding in at least 20 years. He recommended the Board of Commissioners work with the Airport Commission, tenants, etc for a successful transition and work to solve the issues. He agreed that one or two tenants should serve on the Airport Commission.

 

EXECUTIVE SESSION

 

The Board did not hold an executive session during this meeting.

 

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.

 

 

                                                                                                __s/ Mary Hunt____________

Mary Hunt, Chairman

                                                                                                Board of Commissioners

                                                                                                Glynn County, Georgia

Attest:

 

  s/  Cindee Overstreet                   

Cindee S. Overstreet, Clerk