Moultrie’s airport will get a partial renovation with a contract approved this week by Moultrie City Council.

The more than $500,000 project will pave a portion of the main runway.

In addition to new asphalt for the center 40 feet of that runway, the project also includes sealing cracks in the new and existing asphalt on the main runway, as well sealing taxiways, the ramp area and secondary runway, said Alan Mathis, whose company Eagles of America Inc. operates Moultrie-Colquitt County Airport. The company also operates the airport in Albany.

Mathis said during a Friday telephone interview that the main runway, while not unsafe, has fallen below Federal Aviation Administration standards. The 5,126-foot runway has a rough portion in the center that can make landing disconcerting for pilots, particularly those in faster airplanes.

“It’s getting a real washboard effect,” Mathis said. “For planes coming in at 120 miles per hour the washboard effect is much worse. I’ve flown (jets) in a couple of times and people who fly in regularly have noticed it. Pilots are complaining about it.”

The runway will be closed after quail season, a busy time for the airport, with the work scheduled to start in late April or early May.

About $90,000 of the cost will go toward sealing cracks, with the balance going toward the paving work, Mathis said. With federal and state transportation money hard to come by these days, local aviation officials felt that the smaller-scale project, rather than an entire runway rehabilitation, had the best chance of success.

The contract approved Tuesday night by the council with the Georgia Department of Transportation includes $496,065 in federal money and matching funds of $12,883 from the state and $12,225 from the city.

In other business the council took care of beginning-of-year housecleaning matters by setting the monthly salaries for the mayor at $580 and $495 for council members, the same amount as last year. Other reorganization matters included re-appointing Moultrie attorney David Herndon as Municipal Court judge at a salary of $2,216 per month and re-appointing City Manager Mike Scott and City Attorney Mickey Waller. It also re-appointed Ella Fast as city clerk and Brenda Ellison as assistant city clerk.

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