Amendment Would Allow Some Older BRAC Sites to Retain HUBZone Status
Among the 145 amendments the Senate passed during debate over the fiscal 2013 defense authorization bill is one that would extend the period during which certain base closure sites can be designated as HUBZones, a status conferring preferential access to federal procurements for qualified small businesses.
Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) sponsored the provision to benefit the Heath-Newark-Licking County Port Authority, the central Ohio site of the former Newark Air Force Base. The 350-acre Central Ohio Aerospace and Technology Center is located at the installation, which closed in 1996.
Congress designated BRAC installations as HUBZones in 2004, but the port authority only gained recognition from the Small Business Administration (SBA) in 2008, cutting short the five-year period during which it could use the set-aside program to attract new tenants.
Brown’s amendment would allow the site to regain its HUBZone status for the remaining three years and 9 months it missed; its designation then would last until sometime in 2015 or 2016, according to the senator’s spokeswoman. The provision would apply to other BRAC sites that similarly did not get to take advantage of the entire five-year period Congress intended, she said.
Installations closed during BRAC 2005 generally would not benefit from the provision as the law allows those sites to be designated as HUBZones for five years after they are officially closed, according to SBA. As a result, many bases closed in the last BRAC round will retain that designation until sometime in 2016.
The HUBZone program targets federal contracts to small businesses in designated areas with low income, high poverty rates and/or high unemployment. To qualify for the program, firms must be small businesses, their principal office must be located within a HUBZone and 35 percent of their workforce must come from a HUBZone area. For a list of BRAC sites designated as HUBZones, visit the SBA website.