VALDOSTA — Valdosta-Lowndes County Airport Authority unanimously voted to spend $8,333 for an air traffic control tower preliminary study.
The preliminary study is the first step for the airport to build a new air traffic control tower, Airport Manager Jim Galloway said.
The preliminary study will measure many parts of the airport but it will not define a location or parameters for the new tower. But the study will be used later in the process if a new tower is built, he said.
The current tower is more than 70 years old and a new tower has been on the the authorities wish-list for several years.
The $8,333 for the project is only 25 percent of the total cost of the study, Galloway said. The other 75 percent will be covered by a line item on the state budget.
To cover the $8,333, Galloway has been watching the revenue streams for the airport and has been waiting for money to be available for the project before presenting it to the authority.
“I’ve been watching where there’s been sources of revenue that have exceeded expectations,” Galloway said. “And so, we want to pick an easy one because we track it every month — it’s the rental cars. … They have exceeded expectation this year by $11,300 over what we have budgeted for expectations.”
And though the study does not guarantee a new tower will be built, Galloway has been working at the state and local levels for the last few years to get the project moving forward.
The authority voted to allow Galloway to sign a contract to move Airport Improvement Project 33 forward.
AIP-33 encompasses three projects in total, but the main project is a $1.5 million passenger bridge, Galloway said. Other projects include $20,000 portable and an environmental and redesign work study for $75,000. The portable stairs have already been ordered and are expected to arrive in the next few months.
The funding for AIP-33 is split between the Federal Aviation Administration, the state and passenger charge fees, Galloway said. The FAA will fund the bulk of the expenses for the project at 90 percent of the total cost.
The authority approved $1,400 to give to airport employees for longevity awards.
The awarded amount is based on how long the employee has been with the airport and follows the same model the city uses, Galloway said.
The awards will be given out at the airport’s Christmas lunch Dec. 8 at Smok’n Pig.
The authority also reviewed the audit it received for Fiscal Year 2017.
The VLCAA meets 8 a.m. the second Wednesday of each month in the airport conference room. The next meeting will be Dec. 13. The meeting will be open to the public.
Jason Smith is a reporter at The Valdosta Daily Times. He can be contacted at 229-244-3400 ext.1257.