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Gwinnett OKs New Airport Process; Citizens Panel Formed

Commissioners unanimous in moving forward with examining plans for privatizing Briscoe Field.

Showing the political unity that has been advised, Gwinnett's Board of Commissioners unanimously approved plans Tuesday for a citizens review panel and for moving forward with proposals regarding the potential privatization of county-owned .

Meeting in Lawrenceville, the commissioners named eight people to the Citizens Review Committee (there will be 11 total) and empowered Infrastructure Management Group (IMG) to provide counseling in the proposal process. The board also scrapped previous qualifications submitted.

"The process has been restarted," Commission Chairman Charlotte Nash said after the meeting. "This Board Of Commissioners has made that decision."

The next step will be for the county to issue Request for Proposals (RFP) for companies interested in running the airport on a general-aviation basis. Commercial passenger service is not being discussed by the commissioners at this time, on the advice of IMG.

Nash is not sure when RFPs will be issued. IMG is assisting the county with that process.

Named to the citizens panel Tuesday were:

  • Steve Ramey (Lilburn) and Gaye McNeil (Lawrenceville), by Nash; Woody Woodruff and Mary Jane Polizano, by Lynette Howard; Gary Custar (Brookwood area) and Jeff Timler (Dacula), by Mike Beaudreau; Tony Powell (Lawrenceville) and Jim Regan (Hamilton Mill), by John Heard. Commissioner Shirley Lasseter tabled her two appointments until the Oct. 18 meeting. One member will come from the county airport authority.

The board OKd $42,684 for IMG for "assistance with the potential privatization process." This brings the total spent so far on privatization to $190,000, out of $250,000 set aside for the process.

"We need somebody with expertise in this field," Nash said.

Earlier this year, there were two votes by board members against privatization.

"This is more about doing it in the right manner," said Nash, who was one of the two dissenting votes earlier, along with Heard.

At an information session in September, IMG advised the board, "If the county doesn't have its act together politically, bidders are not likely to get in the middle," IMG's Steve Steckler said.

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