About the Golden Isles Airport Commission

Comments regarding the amendment/update of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Brunswick Glynn Development Authority and the Glynn County Airport Commission. Prepared and presented by Monica Smith at the meeting of the Brunswick and Glynn Economic Development Authority on March 5, 2019.

While it is reasonable to conduct a review after thirty years, the suggested revised memorandum on your agenda today is inadequate from a citizen’s perspective. Indeed, IMHO, it is the ordinance governing the relationship between Glynn County and the Airport Commission that needs to be updated, if only because the official record has gotten really messy as a result of frequent amendments being recorded by hand.
But, to get to the particulars of the proposed memorandum and the questions they raise:

a. The Budget: the statement “the Commission will also maintain a 4-6-months operational expenses” is incomplete. Something has been left out. Also, the suggestion that the Airport Commission budget will be submitted “prior to each budget year” is grossly vague. Not to mention that it does not provide time for revisions, nor approval by the Glynn County Commission. (If I am not mistaken, the budget year begins July 1)

b. Audit services — what standards are to be used? Will the solicitation be publicly noticed?

c. Selection of consultants — for what purpose? the expansion of airport facilities? safety improvements? what qualifications? consultation with County planning? at what level of budget over-run will the County be consulted?

d. Applications for grants — who defines “need”? who co-ordinates air transport with rail, transit and shipping needs?

e. Lease Agreements — what are the dimensions of the real property within Authority jurisdiction? Where do revenues flow? Who provides for consistency with Glynn County land use plans and zoning restrictions?

f. Sublease Agreements — what triggers a re-bidding? What if the conditions of the original lease have proved inadequate or inappropriate? Who sets tenant standards? Who insures an open selection process? Are there different criteria for aeronautical service providers and other commercial interests?

g. Marketing Airport Property — who decides which County lands are to be offered for lease or sale? Who attests to the financial soundness of potential purchasers? Are leaseholders bonded? At what point are IPC and MPC asked to review proposals for appropriateness with community standards?

h. Standardization of Agreements — role of County Attorney, County Finance Department, County Purchasing? Why does Authority require separate legal counsel? Is this a duplication of services?

i. Building modification–Subject to county building code and enforcement standards, including environmental impacts?

j. Operating Licenses/Permits– executed by the Commission for what services and functions? aeronautical or general commercial or industrial? Who certifies appropriateness? Is this just for pilots’ licenses? Are there tests?

k. Letters of Agreement–to do what? Who reviews? EDA? County Commission?

l. Reporting–When does the Airport Commission report to the Glynn County Commission to demonstrate that its operations are consistent with County goals and objectives?
m. Use of airport facilities– should be dedicated first and foremost to air transport operations. Who determines use for economic development and insures consistency with LOCAL laws and regulations?

Who are “appropriate representatives of the Authority and Commission? Are decisions not taken by votes of the respective bodies, which then designate signatories?
Shall we conclude the proposed MOU needs a bit of work? Why not refer it to the County Finance Committee to facilitate integration with county revenue and spending policies?
At the EDA retreat, I sensed some reluctance by the members of the EDA to exercise supervision over the Airport Commission. Perhaps that matter should be referred to the County Commission, which does have ultimate responsibility for how public assets are used.

Respectfully submitted,
Monica Smith