Victoria County to contribute $175,000, airport's repairs

Melissa Crowe By Melissa Crowe

Aug. 20, 2012 at 3:20 a.m.
Updated Aug. 21, 2012 at 3:21 a.m.

Victoria County is expected to pay a portion of Victoria Regional Airport's estimated $1.75 million aircraft rescue and firefighting water system repairs.

Commissioners agreed Monday to pay a 10-percent share through a $175,000 loan from the general fund. The remaining balance is covered by a Texas Department of Transportation grant.

Airport Manager Jason Milewski said the repairs eventually will replace the entire water and wastewater system at the airport, which is left over from the property's former life as a military base.

"It's replacing 60-plus-year-old water pipes that are under a constant state of cracking and leaking," Milewski said. "It's a spider web of pipes, and an incredible maintenance nightmare."

Milewski said there is a chance the county will need to approve another loan for two other waterline-related projects on the sewer system, but this is the largest.

"This is something we've been working on for a number of years and we've finally got a good portion of the money to get this project rolling," Milewski said.

County Judge Don Pozzi said, "Every year the airport continues to improve so this is considered a loan."

He said he is eager to get the project started, which should be in early 2013.

On the financial side, Milewski said the plumbing has been a drain on the budget.

Every drop of water that enters airport property is metered at the entrance and exit of the property.

If rainwater gets into the system through cracks in the pipes, the airport pays for its treatment.

Fire Marshal Ron Pray said the current system does not supply enough water pressure to protect buildings, planes and the airport's equipment in the event of a fire.

"We'd collapse the line if we hooked up to it," Pray said.



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