Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
August 5, 2015 3:25 p.m.

Four items of business affecting the Fernandina Beach airport received unanimous approval from the Fernandina Beach City Commission (FBCC) at its August 4, 2015 Regular Meeting.

Security Access and Control

By approving Resolution 2015-108, the FBCC approved Passero Associates, LLC’s work order 15-65 in the amount of $20,000 to provide engineering design and bid phase services for the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Design and Construction East Area Security and Access Control Project at the Fernandina Beach Municipal Airport. Funding will come from the Airport Improvements Fund and is reimbursable via a grant.

City Manager Joe Gerrity, in reference to an email sent to commissioners, advised that the item had not been first sent to the Airport Advisory Commission for review because as a rule, security matters are not up for public review.

Andrew Holesko, Passero Associates Program Manager for Fernandina Beach Municipal Airport
Andrew Holesko, Passero Associates Program Manager for Fernandina Beach Municipal Airport

Andrew Holesko of Passero Associates responded to commissioner questions about the project. Holesko congratulated the FBCC on getting the Joint Participation Agreement from the FDOT for this matter. He said that this is a highly competitive program, and that the grant is earmarked for security improvements at the airport. He said that the grant would cover a well thought out series of improvements identified in 2013. Holesko said that airport security systems have not been upgraded for at least 10 years. New systems will be state of the art for access control and monitoring.

The system will be designed so that both the airport manager and the fixed base operator in the proposed welcome center will have electronic summaries and history of all access by gate. He reported that Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) is also encouraged by the security improvements that will be coming with this project.

Commissioner Tim Poynter asked if this system would be able to be incorporated in the new building which has yet to be built, wondering what the time frame for improvements might be. Holesko responded, “Absolutely. The new building, the entrance at the east area of the airport. We are going to take into account all those factors. We do not want the city to invest temporary funds now and have to relocate in the near future. We are still going to come back to you with plans, and they will be part of the bid documents when we work out those details.

Award of RFP #15-101.2 to Eight Flags Aviation, LLC

Fernandina Beach Municipal Airport
Fernandina Beach Municipal Airport

On May 20, 2015, the City of Fernandina Beach issued Request for Proposal (RFP) #15-101.2 soliciting proposals from firms for Fixed Base Operation (FBO) and Lease of Land at the Fernandina Beach Municipal Airport. The request for sealed responses was advertised in accordance with city purchasing policies and procedures, and on June 19, 2015, two proposals were received. An evaluation committee, comprised of four independent aviation professionals reviewed and rated the submittals according to predefined criteria as published in the RFP.

The committee convened to view presentations and ask questions of the bidders on July 8, 2015. Afterwards, they deliberated and recommended Eight Flags Aviation LLC over second bidder McGill Aviation by a vote of 3-1.

Following the FBCC’s unanimous vote to approve the bid award, City Manager Joe Gerrity said that he would return to the commission with a proposed contract in the near future. He thanked Brian Echard, the 8 Flags principal, for his patience in dealing with the city over the past year.

Airport Budget Amendment

The city transferred $50,000 to the Airport Principal account from the Airport Reserve/Contingency account to pay off an outstanding Bank of America loan in the amount of $75,000.

Airport Advisory Commission appointment

The FBCC unanimously approved the appointment of Mr. Don Edlin to a three-year term, replacing member Ms. Amelia Dunphy, who did not seek reappointment.

Suanne Thamm 4Editor’s Note: Suanne Z. Thamm is a native of Chautauqua County, NY, who moved to Fernandina Beach from Alexandria,VA, in 1994. As a long time city resident and city watcher, she provides interesting insight into the many issues that impact our city. We are grateful for Suanne’s many contributions to the Fernandina Observer.

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