Tinker Relies on New Authority to Forge Support Agreements with Host Communities

Officials at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., have embraced DOD’s brand new authority allowing military installations to enter into intergovernmental support agreements with their host communities in a big way.

In the last three months, the installation has reached agreements with its closest neighbor, Midwest City, to share its jail and juvenile services, and a third agreement for the city to manage the installation’s solid waste awaits the Air Force secretary’s approval.

The three agreements, along with three others under consideration, will extend the ties between the two neighbors, but more importantly are expected to save the Air Force hundreds of thousands of dollars a year while enhancing Tinker’s mission effectiveness. The partnerships will benefit Midwest City as well, helping it more efficiently use surplus resources at the same time it supports the installation.

Tinker’s quick embrace of the new authority — section 331 of the fiscal 2013 defense authorization bill — earned it ADC’s 2013 Installation of the Year Award. These new collaborations are projected to help Tinker and its neighbors more efficiently manage limited resources during a period of overwhelming fiscal constraints, while enhancing services for the military.

An agreement to use Midwest City’s jail for short-term confinements will save Tinker $4,000 in travel costs annually and lower its daily cost for prisoner lodging. The arrangement helps the city by allowing it take advantage of excess capacity in its jail. A separate agreement offers Tinker officials an alternative approach for dealing with juveniles who commit minor crimes. Rather than evicting the offender’s entire family from base housing, this agreement will allow the Air Force to send offenders to Midwest City’s juvenile counseling program run by its police department.

The third agreement calls for Midwest City to provide nonresidential waste management services for the installation, saving the base an estimated $400,000 a year. The possibility of the city providing the base lodging services at an existing hotel also is under consideration. A working group of officials from Tinker and Oklahoma City are exploring the prospect of sharing a shooting range and having the city perform road maintenance on base. Such an agreement would trim Tinker’s cost of street repair and expand the city’s surge capability.

Award winners will be recognized at a special ceremony on Capitol Hill Thursday during the Defense Communities National Summit.

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