Airport board approves change order for $5.5M runway construction project


Aug. 21--PITTSTON TWP. -- The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport Bi-County Board of Commissioners approved a $53,446 change order Thursday, raising the amount of a runway construction contract with Slusser Brothers to more than $5,564,800.

The change order will allow outdated runway surface sensor system computers, software and remote processing units to be replaced, said airport director Barry Centini.

Lackawanna County Commissioner A.J. Munchak was the lone opponent. Mr. Munchak said he realizes it is necessary to replace outdated computers, but he added, "I have a penchant for not voting for change orders."

A grant from the Federal Aviation Administration is paying for 95 percent of the project, with the state and the airport paying the remainder, Mr. Centini said. Money was left in the grant to pay for new computers and remote processing units.

Board members also did not comment Thursday on a U.S. attorney's office subpoena for airport construction contract records from years coinciding with the majority rule of former Lackawanna County Commissioner Robert C. Cordaro and Mr. Munchak.

The U.S. attorney's office requested information on contracts between Jan. 1, 2004, and Jan. 31, 2008, related to the $80 million construction of the Joseph M. McDade Terminal, a new parking garage, roads and cargo building.

Those records were handed over Aug. 7, according to Mr. Centini.

In other business:

- The board awarded a contract to Century Security Services of Wilkes-Barre after receiving eight proposals. The security services agreement begins today and continues through Aug. 21, 2012, and will cost about $250,000 a year, Mr. Centini said.

- The number of people boarding planes in July fell 6.1 percent to 19,251 from 20,508 in July 2008.

- The airport board also approved several rate and fee increases for air carriers, such as landing fees based on the aircraft's weight.

"Our fees have not been increased in quite some time," Mr. Centini said. "With our contracts with the airlines, these fees have already been established."

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