Installation Officials Take a Close Look at Monterey’s Partnership with Army, Navy
As DOD tries to cope with the long-term prospect of austere budgets and the need to trim the cost of support functions, interest in the potential savings that can be generated when a host community provides services through an intergovernmental agreement to a neighboring installation is on the rise.
Last month, the city of Monterey, Calif., hosted a two-day session for senior installation officials from across the military to explain how the partnerships the city has formed with the Presidio of Monterey and the Naval Postgraduate School have helped reduce spending on base support by the two installations as well as sustain their military missions.
Under Monterey’s agreement with the Presidio, city employees provide all facility maintenance on the Army installation, including maintaining buildings, roads, the sewer and electrical system, and heating and air conditioning. The relationship started in the late 1990s after the Monterey-area installations gained special authorization from Congress to purchase municipal services from the city. While the Presidio receives all of its maintenance services from Monterey, the Naval Postgraduate School contracts with the city on a more limited basis.
The Presidio cut its facility support costs by 41 percent two years into the partnership, according to a study by the Army Audit Agency. Over the long-term, the installation has cut its costs by 23 percent.
“That increases the value of the Presidio’s facility maintenance and sustainment budget by almost a quarter,” said Fred Meurer, Monterey’s city manager.
But the partnership is more than just a way to save money, he stresses. The Presidio’s garrison commander credits it with benefiting mission enhancement. After visiting the installation, for example, the sergeant major of the Army said the Presidio had the best barracks maintenance program in the Army.
Over the past decade, Monterey’s partnership with the Presidio has extended beyond supplying municipal services. The city has led efforts to improve the post’s environmental sustainability, promoting recycling, conserving energy and cutting its reliance on fossil fuels.
Meurer believes installation officials will take a closer look at municipal services partnerships in the face of anticipated cuts to facility maintenance and sustainment budgets. “I think intergovernmental support agreements are a first step along with other tools,” he said.
One attendee said he was impressed with the Monterey model and said it deserves further consideration.
“We’ve taken a very complex and difficult problem and solved it with a B-17 solution, while everybody else is looking for an F-35 solution that probably is not attainable,” said Jim Holland, the Air Force’s deputy for installation policy.