Gwinnett BOC Rejects Airport Proposal
Propeller Investments' bid to take over operation of Briscoe Field fails.
After years of controversy, the privatization debate may finally be closed.
Tuesday afternoon, the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to reject a proposal from Propeller Airports to privatize Briscoe Field in Lawrenceville.
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Propeller Investments, a company that had previously expressed an interest in bringing commercial flights to the airport, was the only company to file a proposal before the Feb. 8, 2012 deadline.
The Propeller proposal was reviewed, evaluated and scored in accordance with Gwinnett County purchasing policies and several issues were noted.
Prior to Tuesday's vote, Gwinnett County Department of Transportation Director Kim Conroy explained the department’s concerns.
“In summary, the evaluation committee, with assistance from our technical and financial experts, provided a well-considered and thorough evaluation of the Propeller proposal and based upon the minimal detail provided in the technical and financial portions of the proposal as well as the other concerns noted, the department recommends rejection of this proposal,” Conroy said.
Conroy’s statement was met with a standing ovation from some of those in attendance.
During the discussion leading up to the vote, District 3 Commissioner Mike Beaudreau said the Airport Privatization Citizen Review Committee raised several issues that were not adequately addressed.
“I’ll be perfectly frank with you,” he said. “The effects of this airport expansion will be borne not only by folks in the city of Lawrenceville, as Commissioner Heard has eloquently stated, but also the folks in District 3 in Dacula certainly would be affected near the flight path.”
Beaudreau said he would like the county to look at some of the ideas presented by the citizen review committee and explore ways to make the airport more effective and more efficient.
“It’s been a long, very drawn out process -- certainly taxing on all those involved. And my hope would be that at this point, with this issue behind us potentially here moving forward, that we can bring our community together. We’ve had too many issues here, notwithstanding those that have lately occurred, that have put our community at odds with each other so I would hope that we could move forward in unison,” he added.
The vote to reject Propeller’s proposal was followed by a late addition to the agenda -- a motion to take all necessary steps to withdraw Gwinnett County’s application from the FAA privatization program and to terminate the potential privatization process.
“This gives the proper guidance to staff so that this doesn’t continue to linger in terms of the application that we are not making any progress on,” said Gwinnett County Commission Chairwoman Charlotte Nash.
The motion was unanimously approved.