County commission approves additional funding for 51st Ave SW project

Published 9:00 am Thursday, March 10, 2022

On Monday evening, during the Chambers County Commission meeting, county engineer Josh Harvill introduced a request on behalf of Chambers County Development Authority Executive Director Valerie Gray to increase the amount initially allocated to fund the placement of waterlines on 51st Ave SW going into the Lanett airport.

Huguley Water and Sewer requested an additional $52,921. Gray recommended the commission approve an additional $40,000, leaving Huguley Water and Sewer to fund the remaining $12,921.

The total commitment of the county from the Economic Development Fund (106 Fund), which is funded by the Equalization Sales Tax, will increase to $240,000.

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In January, Gray introduced the initial allocation request for $200,000 that was passed unanimously by the commission.

Huguley Water and Sewer will also incur an additional $28,000 expense to install 6-inch ductile iron instead of PVC and $12,291 for water lines, increasing the project total to $280,921 awarded to Crawford Grading and Pipeline.

Also included in the request from Huguley Water and Sewer was an increase for engineering and design in the amount of $22,000 that Gray recommended the commission not allocate, leaving Huguley Water and Sewer with a total increase $59,251 for the project.

Commissioner James Williams expressed some concern with the progress of the airport and the money that has been provided thus far by the county.

“We have put a little bit over $341,000 into that airport, and it’s still not open,” Williams said. Despite assurances from Commissioners Debra Riley and Sam Bradford, Williams said, “it looks like we’re throwing money into a bottomless pit.”

While expressing her optimism on the airport’s future, Riley issued a stern warning regarding future federally funding requests for Chambers County.

“If that airport does not get up and running and that airport does not become functional soon – and there are people that understand this – I don’t foresee us getting money from our U.S. representatives and senators again,” Riley said. “There’s been millions given to us, and I have all the confidence in the world it’s going to come together.”