Base partnership discussed

By Alisa Boswell

CMI staff writer

aboswell@pntonline.com

A new base-partnership perspective was presented to members of the Local Growth Management Committee Monday at its monthly meeting in Clovis.

Monterey, Calif., city manager Fred Meurer told members about his community's partnership between the Presidio of Monterey (Army base), which is a "shared services concept."

"It's looking at both sides of the fence where we can build a park bench that benefits both parties," Meurer said told committee members about the city's partnership with the base.

He said when the partnership was began in 1990, a special state legislation was pushed through, which included only Monterey County, Calif., as an entity allowed to contract with a military base for exchange of services.

Meurer said base officials have told him they have saved 22 percent of what they would have paid to other outside contract sources for the services the city provides.

He said the total cost of base projects last year was $20 million, with just over $1 million of revenue generated for the city.

"Rather than us just paving the city's roads and the Army paving their roads, we make it all one project with one contractor and pave it all," Meurer said after the meeting, giving an example of how the two entities work together. "It works well for the Army because they only pay for what they use. It benefits us because we are continually integrating their efforts with our efforts."

Meurer said there are three aspects to his city's partnership: Maintaining base facilities, day-to-day operation and repairs of facilities and annual projects.

He said certain city personnel report directly to the base daily for work and other city workers will be utilized temporarily for specific base projects.

He said the base compensates the city for the workers' salaries during this time.

Meurer said an example of a construction project agreement between the entities was the construction of soccer fields.

"The Army needed athletic fields and we needed athletic fields," Meurer said. "They had land but no money and we had money but no land, so we formed a partnership."

Meurer said base personnel now use the field in the mornings and afternoons while city athletic programs use it on weekends and in the evenings.

Col. David Piech, 27th Special Operations Mission Support Group commander, asked Meurer during the meeting if the city providing fire department services to the base included aircraft fires.

Meurer answered that the services only include land and structure fires.

"I'm interested in what their (Monterey's) scope is and how we would fit in," Piech said after the presentation. "Army and Navy are quite a bit different in their operations."

Other committee members agreed they would also be interested in learning more information about the partnership.

"What we're trying to do is cross fertilize ideas between communities across the U.S.," Meurer said of why Monterey is sharing their community partnership ideas with other cities and counties. "We hope to steal as many ideas as we give."

Curry County commissioners Caleb Chandler and Wendell Bostwick and Portales Mayor Sharon King will be attending the Association of Defense Communities Conference in Monterey next week to learn about more community partnerships with military institutions.

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