Cornelius Field needs real attention
Dear Editor: For over 18 months Bill Byrne, along with Ken Suffridge have requested an appointment to the Polk County Airport Board, from two different Commissioners, Bill even filled out all the paper work … and has heard absolutely nothing from his request.
The Commissioners should remember this in the next election cycle. Ken and Bill both are pilots, and have extensive background in aviation. Ken was instrumental in obtaining over 35 million dollars from Congress, the FAA and the Georgia Department of Transportation for building a new 6000’ runway, with an Instrument Landing System at the Gwinnett County Airport when he was a County Commissioner in Gwinnett. Bill, as past Chairman of the Cobb County Board of Commissioners had years of hands on experience with the Cobb County Airport Authority and McCollum Field.
The airport in Polk County, Cornelius Field, if managed properly, could become a major asset for economic development for the County but instead, paint is peeling off the buildings, the grounds are overgrown, the runway needs repair and the call for the Board of Commissioners to address this issue has for years, been ignored, and obviously fallen on deaf ears.
We will ask our State Rep resentative Trey Kelley to help create an Airport Authority (An airport authority is an independent entity charged with the operation and oversight of an airport) to properly manage the airport and bring Polk County into a new day.
The Board of Commissioners have turned their backs on a great asset and opportunity to create new jobs and expand economic development opportunities for all of Polk County. In addition, it would be almost impossible for the Board of Commissioners to obtain funds and/or budget enough money to make the necessary repairs and upgrades to the Airport, because there is a constitutional prohibition of multiyear contracts to finance projects.
On the other hand, Authorities, unlike County and City governments are allowed to borrow money by issuing revenue bonds in it own name. Each authority’s powers are prescribed in the statue creating it, which also provides for a governing board, whose members can be appointed by the commission. It is time the Polk County Board of Commissioners understand their limitations in dealing with airport financing, and come along with the rest of us into the 21st Century, and do the right thing.
Sincerely, Bill Byrne and Ken Suffridge