Officials cautious on BRAC

By Christina Calloway

CMI staff writer

ccalloway@pntonline.com

Emphasis of public and private partnerships with Cannon Air Force Base was a main topic of discussion Friday at a Local Growth Management Committee meeting as a response to the threat of Base Realignment and Closure.

Although Congress said a BRAC round wasn’t happening, according to Committee of 50 Chairman Ray Sullivan, he said alternatives to BRAC were discussed at a November Association of Defense Communities Defense Policy Forum.

Sullivan said decisions made for local military installations have a ripple effect on communities they are near.

Sullivan told the LGMC, a group that’s tasked with working with Cannon and the effects of its growth on the community, communities can identify new areas to share or reduce service costs.

Those topics will lead discussion points for a February 2014 ADC meeting, according to Sullivan.

LGMC member Sandra Taylor-Sawyer also reported on an ADC meeting she attended where discussion topics mirrored that of what Sullivan discussed.

“The workshop focused on public partnership with installations and showed us how to use shared resources to help Cannon Air Force Base’s mission,” Taylor-Sawyer said.

She predicts in the future local municipalities will work with Cannon to see what services can be offered to the base.

Additional highlights from Friday’s meeting included:

• A request from Taylor-Sawyer to update the LGMC website. She said content on the website dated back to April and feels without new material, people will not come back to visit the website.

“Why spend all this money and then allow this website to not be current?” Taylor-Sawyer asked.

Portales City Manager Doug Redmond acknowledged the website did not have fresh content and requested input from the local governments, committee members and Cannon to make clear what kind of content should be on the website with a policy.

Redmond also said it would be helpful to give those entities access to the website so that they can post their own material.

Redmond added he’d be happy to bring a policy for the committee’s review at its next meeting to ensure the website meets its standards.

• A report was given by Cannon’s Col. Heather Buono regarding base projects. Buono said the current MILCON project on base is a $23 million consolidated communication facility. She also said a 96-person dorm will be delivered in January, the second of three dormitory projects. Work will begin on the third dorm in March 2014.

Buono said the Air Force Thunderbirds will have a show at Cannon May 24-25 for the Memorial Day weekend.

Buono said the base is excited about the community partnership and she’s received great feedback from incoming airmen who have attended the community airmen briefings.

“They’re very much appreciative,” said Buono.

Buono was also asked about the military’s budget by one of the committee members. She said the continuing resolution Congress passed is set to expire in January and if Congress does not pass a budget or extend the resolution, Cannon will have no money again. Buono said the base is looking forward to Congress passing a budget.

The tentative time and date for the LGMC’s next meeting will be at 2 p.m. on Mar. 4 in Clovis.

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