Runway extension making headway

Published 10:00 am Saturday, March 18, 2017

LaGRANGE – After years of discussion and negotiation, the runway extension to the LaGrange-Callaway Airport finally looks like it is preparing to take off.

The Troup County Board of Commissioners discussed approval of a reimbursable agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration at its regular work session on Friday that would finally allow the county to hire a contractor to build the 900-foot extension.

“We’re moving forward with the airport runway extension project,” said Division Director Dexter Wells. “This has been an ongoing project.”

Federal Aviation Administration recently approved for the county to advertise the construction on May 1 and open the project for bids on June 5, and while the runway itself will be the main part of the project, some of the budgeted project costs will go toward relocating equipment to make way for the new runway.

“As a part of the construction, we are going to have to move seven localized antenna rays that are at the end of the runway,” said Wells. “We have a contract with the FAA to move that and replace it for a total cost of $197,372.48 that is reimbursable at 95 percent, so the local cost would be $9,867.63 which would come from the airport enterprise fund.”

The airport is currently making money for the county, and officials hope that the longer runway – and the larger planes that will be able to land at the airport because of it – will continue to increase that.

“We are doing very well on our business model at the airport,” said Wells. “I pulled the numbers from last month, and as of the end of last month we are $50,000 above expenses, not counting depreciation, so our cash flow is going well.”

Because of corrections needed to the wording of the contract with the FAA, the commissioners plan to vote on whether to authorize the county manager to approve the agreement with the FAA following the county’s legal review to prevent any further delays that could be caused by not approving the agreement until the next commissioner’s meeting.

“The locals are moving as soon as we can get this agreement done, and then they are going to bid it out,” said County Manager Tod Tentler. “The bid opening is in June, and by July they will probably be ready to award a bid. That will be a timing issue with the FAA – when they have the money available for us – and then in the next month, we should have a time line on construction time. So, we’re not quite there yet, but we’re close to getting a time for construction. We certainly hope we’ll be under construction by the end of this year.”

The county does not have an estimated completion date on the runway project at this time.

Other items covered in the work session included:

– The LaGrange Callaway Airport requested a lift on the hiring freeze to be able to hire for the budgeted position of a lineman who would work up to 29 hours a week fueling and servicing planes.

– The DUI/ Drug Court requested to be able to accept a state grant that would not require matching funds from the county.

– The Troup County Parks and Recreation department requested a lift on the hiring freeze to hire six budgeted seasonal maintenance workers and a part time receptionist.

The Troup County Board of Commissioners plans to meet on Tuesday at 9 a.m. at 100 Ridley Ave.

Reach Alicia B. Hill at or at 706-884-7311, Ext. 2154.