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Development authority deals with infastructure
Partnership to pay for Midcoast runway
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The Liberty County Development Authority listens to a discussion on the MidCoast Regional Airport runway extension during a meeting Wednesday. - photo by Photo by Cailtin Kenney

The Liberty County Development Authority on Wednesday approved entering into a partnership with the city of Hinesville and the Liberty County Board of Commissioners to pay off an extension on MidCoast Regional Airport.
At the same meeting, the authority’s board of directors also approved a water/sewer line extension into Midway.
Immediately after starting the meeting at 2 p.m., the board went into executive session. Twenty minutes later, the board returned to open session, but used just six minutes to discuss the second agenda item, concerning extending a sewer-and-water line from Highway 84 into Midway by Charlie Butler Road.
“We will include any of the parcels that abut Charlie Butler Road in the intergovernmental agreement, with the understanding that, basically, is approving any of the parcels between U.S.
84 and the two parcels owned by Claude Dryden,” authority CEO Ronald Tolley said.
The board also motioned to recall the first intergovernmental agreement with the city of Midway and submit the new one to replace it.
The board then went back into its previous executive session just after 2:30 p.m., then emerged into the open meeting about 30 minutes later.
The last item on the agenda was for LCDA to potentially fund a runway extension at MidCoast Regional Airport at Wright Army Airfield, presented by County Administrator Joey Brown.
“The motion was to approve the authority’s participation in the funding of the $3.1 million loan for the runway extension, with the provision that the other two entities, that being the city of Hinesville and the Liberty County Board of Commissioners, also agree to participate because we’re splitting it into thirds,” Tolley said. “And also authorizing the chairman to execute the documents necessary to memorialize that agreement.”
By partnering with the city and the county, they and the LCDA will each pay $46,233.33 per year for
20 years to pay off the loan, according to a presentation given during the meeting.
“The bank offered us
$3.1 million at 2.7 percent for 15 years, and then the last five years, the rate changes to 70 percent of New York prime in an effort to help us because of our other issues with our other debt service that we have on the airport already,” said Carmen Cole, the authority’s director of administration and finance. “They have back loaded, if you will, the principal on this note.”  
According to the chart, starting in 2030, the partnership will begin to aggressively pay off the rest of the debt on the new extension, with the amount projected to be completely paid by 2035. The total contract for the runway project is $13.7 million. If the local partnership is agreed to, the additional costs would be paid by the Federal Aviation Administration
($1.7 million) and the Georgia Department of Transportation ($8.9 million).
“I think with a lot of things that we’re seeing in transportation in the ports and roadway infrastructures need to be upgraded, especially in the corridors coming from the port, that it’s a great opportunity probably in the future to tag this in with that regional transportation initiative,” Brown said.
At Thursday’s Hinesville City Council meeting, Brown presented the runway-extension project and partnership for a second time. Council members asked about the potential benefits of the project.
Brown said there will be revenue from annual fuel sales, leases and potential jobs for civilians and military.
Councilman David Anderson asked if Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax could offset some of the yearly costs. Brown answered yes, if the tax was passed it could help. Funding and partnership by the city was approved.  
Two hours later, Brown presented the partnership for a third and final time in front of the Liberty County Board of Commissioners. It was approved to join the other two entities and move forward with extending the runway.
“What will happen next is we’ll notify the contractor that his bid has been accepted. He’ll have 30 days to get the contracts together so we can execute. GDOT (The Georgia Department of Transportation) will also send down a contract for us to approve before June 30, then there will be notice to proceed,” Brown said. “Fort Stewart is our largest industry. The airport is proven to be able to produce additional military slots and ancillary jobs as a result of the partnership. I think this just takes it to another step and will allow for further expansion to occur. So I think overall it’s good for the community.”
Brown said that work will probably start in July and it will be about a 15-month construction project.

Tiffany King contributed to this report.

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