Propeller Airports' Privatization Proposal Rejected

Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners votes unanimously to reject proposal.

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.

Gwinnett County .

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 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.

Brett Smith, CEO of Propeller Airports, was among those in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting. During the public comment period at the end of the meeting, Smith criticized the board for their actions.

“We can make all the campaign speeches we want now Commissioner Beaudreau ... or we can talk about issues to put more money into the airport … but the bottom line now is that you, commissioners, have not fulfilled the fiduciary responsibility which you had,” Smith said.

Smith, , said the board should have put his proposal before the public.

“You’ve wasted a lot of people’s time,” Smith said.

Smith voiced his opinion that many of the problems could have been avoided had the privatization process been more open and transparent.

“The rest of the country is looking at this, at least in the aviation community, and you have unfortunately made Gwinnett not look good on this,” Smith claimed.

“I’m sorry that you came to this decision and you felt that it wasn’t important to include the citizens in this process,” he added.

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Floyd Akridge June 07, 2012 at 07:05 PM
Cynthia...you may paint with a broad brush but it's not an accurate picture. The simple truth is clear...no matter how deep in denial you are. Commissioner Beaudreau did exactly as he said he would and what we'd want an elected official to do...he became informed and made a decision that was based on what was best for D3 and the county. I'm sorry if that upsets you but it is what it is.
Floyd Akridge June 07, 2012 at 07:12 PM
Andrew...I'm sorry but your conjecture on Commissioner Beaudreau's vote doesn't parallel with reality. In addition, are you telling people here that you have not been voting in previous elections even though you had the opportunity? Wow...that's incredible. I don't care who you vote for but for crying out loud...GET INVOLVED and stop waving your lack of participation as some sort of badge. "He was at our HOA meeting"...you mean he took time out of performing nearly 2 fulltime jobs, community involvement and being a new father to attend your HOA meeting and you are CRITICIZING him? Talk about the Wow factor... Instead of looking at Commissioner Beaudreau when you wonder why Brett Smith thought he had this...what don't you instead look at BRETT SMITH? Hmmmmm???
Floyd Akridge June 07, 2012 at 07:13 PM
btw...thanks for using a real name instead of hiding behind nicknames as some do here. I do appreciate that.
Andrew S June 08, 2012 at 03:50 PM
You know Floyd, you sound like a broken record! Do you think criticizing and personally attacking anyone who does not agree with you or Mikey is helping his bid for a third term. Do you think you are the only one who has a firm grasp on reality! According to your posts you are! This is my first opportunity to vote! "FOR CRYING OUT LOUD"! I guess you and Mikey are smarter than all the rest of us! Sad, we are the ones voting! Theres your "WOW factor"!!! Mike had no other choice Tuesday. To vote anyother way would have been political suicide. I am not alone on this opinion. I am not the only voter who is over Mike! I realize you want to defend your boy but your personal attacks just make you look small! Stop and reread your own posts! Good luck July 31st!
Paul V Kelley June 08, 2012 at 10:45 PM
Another issue I disagree strongly with Mike Beaudreau on is is announcement that he want to add a penny sales tax. We have enough taxation!


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