Middle Georgia Regional Airport Grant Deadline Extended

Macon got an extension on a $500,000 airport grant Wednesday, mayoral spokesman Ron Wildman said.

The city now has until Sept. 14 to accept the grant instead of having to do so today. The extension gives City Council members with questions about the grant more time to consider the issue.

The council will likely meet in special session Monday to discuss the issue, council President Anita Ponder said Wednesday afternoon.

Mayor Jack Ellis flew to Washington, D.C., on Wednesday and was glad to get the extension, Wildman said. The mayor had wanted the council to vote to accept the grant Tuesday, but he couldn't muster the votes as several members questioned his explanation of how much money the city would have to put up to get the grant.

The $500,000 in federal funds would be used to help establish a new route to and from the Middle Georgia Regional Airport. But it requires a $60,000 cash match from the city and another $615,000 in contributions of some kind.

The mayor has said that $615,000 can be made up by waiving various costs for a new airline, but council members fear the grant would actually put the city, which is already in a financial crunch, on the line for cash funding.

"It's committing us to much more than (Ellis) said it would," Councilman Rick Hutto said Wednesday.

Macon Telegraph

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