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TMCNet:  Robins puts economic impact at $2.87 billion

[February 08, 2013]

Robins puts economic impact at $2.87 billion

Feb 08, 2013 (The Macon Telegraph - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- WARNER ROBINS -- Robins Air Force Base's annual economic impact is about $1.6 billion less than a year ago, but an official attributed that primarily to differences in how the figure is calculated.


The statement, released late Thursday, puts the impact of the base at $2.9 billion for fiscal 2012, which ended Oct. 1. The fiscal 2011 statement estimated it at $4.5 billion.

While the base cut 681 jobs last year primarily through voluntary early retirement incentives, the statement attributes the difference to changes in how the figure is calculated.

The new figure no longer includes retiree pay, which was $692 million in 2012 for military and civilian retirees, up from $629 million the previous year. Another change is that medical benefits are no longer included in the total on employee salaries.

In a news conference at the Museum of Aviation Friday, Cost Analysis Division Chief Scott Boyd said the true economic difference from last year is actually negligible. His office recalculated last year's figure using the new methodology, and it worked out to be $2.8 billion.

"The economic impact of Robins is roughly the same as it was in past years," he said. "It's really the methodology change." The reason for the change, he said, is Air Force Materiel Command's reorganization in which command of the three depots, including Robins, was centralized at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla. The methodology change makes the calculation consistent among all three depots.

The net payroll at Robins is $1.4 billion, down from $1.8 billion the previous year. The annual value of indirect jobs created was put at $1.2 billion, down from $1.8 billion the previous year.

Total active-duty military personnel assigned to the base is down by about 2,000, while the number of part-time reservists is up by 1,100. Boyd said that is because members of the 116th Air Control Wing previously were counted as active duty, when most are actually part-time guardsmen. That changed in this year's statement, and the end result is that total military personnel assigned to the base stayed about the same, 6,534 currently compared to 6,645 the previous year.

Annual base expenditures in Georgia were $245 million, down from $278 million.

Because the base does not pay property taxes, the federal government gives local school systems educating military children assigned to the base school impact funds. That was $1.45 million, with Houston County getting $1.4 million and minor amounts divided among Bibb, Crisp, Dooly and Macon counties.

The statement did not give a total number of military and civilian employees at the base, but Boyd put that figure at 24,700. That's up from 22,911 the previous year but is also due to a calculation change, he said.

Previously the statement did not include contracted employees, who work there full time and are employed by companies like Boeing. Boyd said that's because they previously had no way to calculate how many employees were working for the companies because those companies had a contract to do a job, and it was up to them to determine the number of employees.

However, the base is now getting that information from the companies and calculated 2,038 contracted employees on base. The 24,700 figure also includes part-time employees working on base for places like Burger King.

The report is based on numbers provided by the Sustainment Center Financial Management Directorate at Robins.

To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.

___ (c)2013 The Macon Telegraph (Macon, Ga.) Visit The Macon Telegraph (Macon, Ga.) at www.macon.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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