Airport Authority says County Commission shorted payment —VDT

The Lowndes County Commission apparently failed to pay the Airport Authority $150,000, yet the City of Valdosta paid their part in full. Once again the VDT did a little investigation and came up with a story.

Brittany D. McClure wrote for the VDT 15 November 2012, Airport Authority chair states County Commission came up short,

Pictures of authority members on the wall at the airport When the Valdosta Regional Airport had hangars built on the property, both the city of Valdosta and Lowndes County pledged $900,000.

According to [Steve] Everett, the city paid their part in full but the county failed to pay $150,000 of the dedicated funds.


Everett stated that according to the commission, they were unable to pay the $150,000 because they came up short with SPLOST funds.

So what did the county spend its SPLOST funds on?

Also, why did this happen?

Subsequently, the authority had to borrow the $150,000 from the city which they are now paying back with interest.

We know the county has a rolling line of credit it can draw on. And the county is refinancing outstanding bonds to the tune of about $1,675,000 savings. Why is the Airport Authority having to run up new debt for the county’s mistakes?

According to Lowndes County Manager Joe Pritchard, when the proceeds from SPLOST began to come in, it was apparent that the county’s contribution would have to be reduced by $150,000.

Apparent to whom? We know the Industrial Authority has been asking the county for many months when the amount they’d been shorted would be caught up. But did the county tell the various authorities it was shorting that it was doing so? Or did only the ones that were suspicious enough to ask find out?

The county was anticipating $182 million in SPLOST revenue, but now it looks like about $150 million will be collected.

“We’re not at a point right now where we could give these funds,” said Pritchard.

Maybe somebody shouldn’t have committed to give so much funds in the first place.

But here’s a bright spot:

While SPLOST was the cause of lost money and a detriment to the airport in this instance, executive director and manager of the airport Jim Galloway stated that SPLOST VII not passing actually impacted the airport positively.

The SPLOST that was voted on in November didn’t include any airport projects. According to Galloway, when SPLOST comes back around, they may be able to get some airport projects on the list.

Another organization that would like a better process for getting projects on the SPLOST list!

Meanwhile, who was in charge of promising all those SPLOST funds to all those authorities? Not in charge of producing the spreadsheets: in charge of allocating the funds. Could it have been Joe Pritchard?

I wonder if 16.66% of anybody’s paycheck has been withheld until the authorities get their promised SPLOST funds?