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Lawrenceville reiterates opposition to airport expansion

LAWRENCEVILLE -- The Lawrenceville City Council re-emphasized its opposition to the expansion at Briscoe Field following a report from Council members Tony Powell and Katie Smith at Monday night's council meeting.

Smith and Powell attended the recent airport expansion meeting conducted last week by the Gwinnett County Commission, in which, according to Smith, 90 percent of residents attended opposed expansion of the airport.

"We all came together and did our homework," Smith said, adding that there would be adverse health effects to nearby residents if the expansion goes through.

"We're making sure that the (Gwinnett) Commission is aware that we're going to fight the fight," said Powell.

Mayor Judy Johnson said the Council spent 16 hours working on the presentation made at the airport meeting. A former attorney for the Federal Aviation Administration has been hired to represent the city in the matter.

The airport controversy was the principal concern of voters during the last city election.

In other business, the Council approved the reorganization of the city's gas department to comply with mandated changes issued by the Georgia Public Service Commission. The city faces $3 million in fines by the PSC for non-compliance.

The changes include awarding a low bid of $60,250 to Magnolia River for a new GIS Mapping System to show where all the gas lines in the city are located. Also approved were the hiring of a new assistant superintendent for the gas department, along with corrosion technicians and assistants. In connection to this matter, the Council also approved the creation of two new positions in the Accounting Department, and an upgrade for the chief accountant.

The Council also:

  • Approved the funding of $50,000 to the Lawrenceville Tourism and Trade Association due to the shortfall caused by the reduction in hotel/motel tax by the closing of the Microtel Hotel in Lawrenceville. The funds are to be used at the discretion of Johnson.

  • Awarded the low bid of $76,461 to Gary's Grading for the widening of Henson Street inside the new Lawrenceville Park scheduled for opening in August. A joint agreement with the county also was adopted in connection with the project.

  • Were presented the "Georgia on My Mind" banner issued to the city's visitors center, making it an official regional visitors center.

  • Approved the naming of City Manager Robert Baroni as a voting delegate for the Municipal Gas Authority of Georgia with Johnson as the alternate voting delegate.