County Approves Two Airport Projects

SALISBURY – County officials this week approved two budget items for projects at the airport.

On Tuesday, the Wicomico County Council voted unanimously on a budget amendment to reallocate $85,000 for a capital project at the Salisbury airport.

Earlier this month, Airport Manager Tony Rudy came before the council seeking a budget amendment for the airport’s Taxiway G gate project.

He explained the airport had originally budgeted $220,000 in general obligation bond proceeds for the installation of an automated gate on a taxiway near the facility’s new drone hanger. But after realizing the expense of constructing and maintaining the gate, officials opted to update the fencing in that area instead.

“That project would only cost around $85,000, as opposed to $220,000,” he said.

Rudy explained rather than paying for the project with bond money, the county would use $85,000 earmarked for a concrete ramp rehabilitation.

“We had $85,000 actually in pay-go money that was earmarked for the FedEx apron rehabilitation, which we found out was not an airport responsibility …,” he said. “Our plan was to use that money already allocated in pay-go to proceed with this fence project.”

Following a public hearing this week, the county council voted unanimously to approve the budget amendment.

The council this week also agreed to appropriate $200,000 from the county’s contingency fund for the airport’s water main extension project.

George, Miles & Buhr’s Katherine McAllister told officials earlier this month the funds would be used to cover the cost of two change orders.

“Mainly they are a result of remobilization costs and the cost for increased materials and technical work that had to be done,” she said.

McAllister said the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), a project partner, provided contingency for the construction of the airport water main. She said the county’s contingency funds would be used if MDE was not willing to cover the cost of the change orders.

“There are still about $89,000 remaining in the MDE contingency fund bucket,” she said. “This $200,000 will cover any costs MDE is not willing to cover.”

In 2019, the county secured more than $4 million in grants and low-interest loans to run municipal water six miles from the Wor-Wic Community College water tower to the airport campus.

Essentially, Wicomico County will install the water main, while the City of Salisbury will maintain and operate the completed water system.

Construction on the water main extension began in earnest last fall. In addition to potable water at the facility, officials said the new water main is expected to enhance fire protection and increase development potential at the airport’s business park.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.