Years of heated debate from both sides came to an end with one word-- "Aye."
On Tuesday afternoon, the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to reject plans to privatize Briscoe Field in Lawrenceville.
The crowd of mostly expansion opponents wearing red shirts broke out in cheers and applause after the vote was cast.
"The effects of this airport expansion would not only be bore by the people of Lawrenceville, but also the folks in District 3 in Dacula would certainly be affected," said District 3 Commissioner Mike Beaudreau as he explained his vote.
Beaudreau said he would now like to look at some of the on how to more effectively and efficiently use the airport. “Right now, we have an asset that I think virtually everyone in this room would agree—maybe the only thing everyone would agree on,” Beaudreau said somewhat jokingly, “that this airport could be used better.”
“I think that no matter what happens with the vote today, that it really made us all aware that we really have an asset in this county that is being underutilized and is not to standard,” said District 2 Commissioner Lynette Thompson when explaining her vote. “Whether you were for it or against commercialization, I don’t think that there’s anybody that can dispute that there are things that we can do better for our airport.”
Immediately after the vote, an item was added to the agenda. The addition was to remove Gwinnett County’s application from the Federal Aviation Authority’s Airport Privatization Pilot Program and to terminate the potential privatization process. The commissioners also passed that item unanimously.
There were a few expansion supporters in the crowd. After the vote, they addressed the commissioners and said they were disgusted with the process and wished the privatization issue could have gone to a public vote.
On Monday, Propeller CEOP Brett Smith asked the Commissioners to until all the commissioners’ seats were filled. Former District 1 Commissioner following pleading guilty to federal bribery charges. Commissioner Chairman Charlotte Nash said an before the term expires on December 31st.
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