The county commission voted Friday to take control of the contract from the Paulding Airport Authority and spend about $1.3 million from the county general fund to pay Woodstock-based Astra Group Inc. to finish the project at Silver Comet Field airport.
According to the resolution commissioners approved on a 4-1 vote, approval was given “to maximize taxiway safety” after the halted project — which is widening the existing taxiway from its present 35 feet to 50 feet — left mounds of dirt near the runway. Post 2 Commissioner Todd Pownall was the only opposing vote.
The commission also voted to reimburse the general fund with proceeds of a bond issue originally meant to fund the project.
A Paulding Superior Court judge recently approved the bonds for the county airport authority but residents opposed to a plan for passenger flights at the airport appealed the approval to the Georgia Supreme Court – leaving the authority without funding to complete the widening.
Additional work to extend the taxiway was halted when the Federal Aviation Administration began an environmental assessment as part of a settlement with members of the same group challenging bond funding.
As a result, airport director Blake Swafford said the only work that can be done now is “to preserve what has already been done” on the widening, including a layer of soil-cement that will make up the base beneath the 10-inch cement top layer. Soil-cement is a compacted mix of soil, cement and water often used in paving.
County Administrator Mike Jones said he would tell commissioners about plans for using additional funds on the extension project even if below the $50,000 limit Jones was allowed to spend without commission approval.
Swafford said a geotechnical review might be needed to determine if recent temperature extremes and water have damaged the soil-cement layer already in place on the taxiway extension.