07/07/04 — Base adds $434 million to economy, study says

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Base adds $434 million to economy, study says

By Sam Atkins
Published in News on July 7, 2004 2:11 PM

Seymour Johnson Air Force Base's economic effect on Wayne County was more than $434 million for last fiscal year, according to a recent study.

That figure is down more than $13 million from the last study, completed in 2002. The decrease is not because the base has a smaller influence, but because of a miscalculation in the 2002 study, say base officials. The study is for fiscal years beginning in October and ending in September.

Varda Giordano, the base's senior budget analyst, said there was an error in the 2002 calculations that affected several other figures and caused a drop in the numbers for 2003. Actually, the 2003 figure is similar to the 2002 figure.

The main miscalculation was in the active-duty personnel living on base and off base in 2002. It indicated that 1,770 personnel were living on base and 4,679 were living off base for a total of 6,449.

But this figure is inaccurate because the person calculating the numbers included people living on base twice.

The 2002 figure for active-duty personnel should have totaled 4,679, which is similar to the more accurate 2003 figure of 4,970, say base officials.

Information for the 2003 study was gathered in October and November, and the more accurate results were published in March.

Counting the reserves and trainees, the base had around 6,400 personnel, which includes active-duty personnel, Reservists and national guardsmen. It had 5,268 active-duty military dependents and about half of those live on and off base.

Other figures from the economic study are include the following:

*The base spans nearly 51,000 acres. Its runway is 300 feet wide and 11,758 feet long.

*The base includes 427 buildings, totaling nearly 3 million square feet. As of last September, it had 4,312 computers and 576 vehicles. It has a total of 1,360 housing units.

*The total value of its aircraft in 2003 was more than $3.3 billion, down from more than $4.2 billion in 2002. This drop is due to the re-evaluation of the aircraft costs, which was updated in 2003. The base has 108 aircraft. The F-15E Strike Eagle is valued at $32.3 million and the KC-135 is valued at $17.7 million.

*The total jobs created were 2,097.

*Seymour Johnson used 537 civilian, contract and other private employees.

*The 2003 payroll for all employees was $265 million, down from $281 million in 2002. Military pay was over $221 million, while civilians and contractors earned around $44.4 million.

*Over $59 million in construction projects were awarded in 2003, which includes materials and supplies. Other expenditures totaled over $53 million. Three buildings were demolished during fiscal year 2003 -- a maintenance shed on the golf course; a shed near the dog kennel; and a carport shelter over where people wash their cars. The Stoney Creek Mobile Home Park will be closing in May 2005.

Dennis Goodson, chief engineer of the 4th Civil Engineer Squadron, said this is the most construction since the base reopened in 1956. Total construction during fiscal year 2003 was $56 million, and Goodson expects that number to be about $120 million when combined with fiscal year 2004.

Several local subcontractors have been awarded contracts. The ongoing projects include:

*Flight line fence -- to prevent unauthorized entrance to the flight line. The project will cost $1.3 million, and its completion is expected this month.

*Oak Forest Gate -- a new entrance, guard house, canopies and inspection lines. It will improve traffic flow and give the gate guards a better and safer area to work. The project cost is $720,000, and completion is expected in August.

*Slocumb Gate -- new canopies for the gate guards and in the truck inspection lane. The project costs $400,000, and completion is expected in August.

*Heritage Park -- a new fountain and sidewalks around the F-105 Thunderchief. The cost is $320,000, and completion is expected in August. Beginning in August, construction of an F-86 Sabre will start across the street from the F-15E Strike Eagle.

*Southern Eagle Dining parking lot -- will provide convenient parking at the dining hall. The cost is $260,000, and completion is expected in August.

*Perimeter road -- will go around the boundary of the base to make it easier for security patrol. Its material cost was $650,000, and it was completed in June.

*On-base housing -- 116 new houses for enlisted personnel will cost $17.7 million, and completion is expected in February.

*Dormitories -- two new dorms will be built with 72 rooms per dorm. The cost is $9.6 million with completion expected in June 2005. The base is using local subcontractors like Keen Plumbing of Goldsboro and others from Kinston, Greenville and Jacksonville.

*Multi-purpose recreation facility -- it will be a log cabin-type building located by the skeet range and will be available for units to use for meetings and gatherings. It will cost $190,000 with completion expected in July.

*The base awarded a $2 million runway project contract to Southern Management Inc. in Goldsboro.

*Deployment processing facility -- will serve as an assembly room for the airmen. Goodson said ground will be broken in August, and Daniels and Daniels Construction Co. of Goldsboro will be doing the work.

*Fire station -- the contract for a new fire station should be awarded by the end of this month, and a groundbreaking is scheduled in early September. The station will be just to the right of the current station, which will be demolished. The contract also includes a satellite fire station at the tanker end of the airfield, he said.