Bulk of BRAC money earmarked for law firm

By Freedom Newspapers

Only $350,000 of the $500,000 of taxpayer money pledged to save Cannon Air Force Base has been budgeted so far, Clovis City Manager Joe Thomas said on Thursday.
Fiscal responsibility is at the heart of decisions being made by the mutual-aid group, Thomas said.
“Out of this money that is pledged it is not the intent of this committee that we have to spend all of it,” Thomas said. “That’s why we set up a tentative budget considerably less than the amount that was pledged.”
After Cannon Air Force Base was placed on the Base Realignment and Closure list in May, Clovis, Curry County, Portales and Roosevelt County pledged a combined $500,000 toward an effort to have Cannon removed from the list.
In a meeting between the entities, Clovis was chosen as the fiscal agent, because the city had a contract in place with the Clovis/Curry County Chamber of Commerce for business retention. The Chamber is handling all the invoicing with the law firm hired to consult during the BRAC process.
Just because money was pledged, doesn’t mean it will be spent, either. Until the city of Clovis is invoiced for services rendered — and subsequently invoices the other entities for their share — money will not be spent in the effort, Thomas said.
Ten percent of the funds were set aside for projects specific to each of the communities, Thomas said, such as community transportation to the regional hearing set for June 24, and banners that would only be displayed in one community.
The bulk of the budgeted money is earmarked for the law firm DLA Piper, which is doing much of the consulting work in Washington, Thomas said.
So far, Thomas said, the city has only paid one invoice, which was for $2,000 and related to analysis of data produced by the government.
A tentative $19,000 budget has been established for the BRAC regional hearing to take place June 24.
The general costs will be distributed through the four entities pledging money proportional to the percentage of the total they each pledged.

Where the money is going:
• $250,000 for consultant fees. At $35,000 per month, DLA Piper is expected to cost about $140,000 in direct fees at this time.
• $15,000 for travel directly related to BRAC activities. Trips to and from Washington, and other travels will be covered in this amount.
• $25,000 for the BRAC regional hearing. This amount will cover security at the event, food and “electronic coordination.”
• $10,000 for incidentals.
• $50,000 for activities specific to the communities. Banners only displayed in one community, or bus service from Portales to Clovis would be included in this amount.
Source: Joe Thomas, Clovis city manger