MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. -- Base residents of Hill Village attended one of two town hall meetings held April 10 at the Base Theater to discuss the future of their housing aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany.
The purpose of the meetings was to present basic information about the Public-Private Venture initiative, describe the anticipated impact to families, as well as provide an open forum for questions from base residents.
The PPV program turns military housing, construction, maintenance and management over to private industry. Congress passed legislation in 1996 authorizing the Department of Defense to team up with private developers. This concept, commonly known as privatization, has been successfully executed at numerous military installations nationwide.
“Our goal is to use the town hall meetings to get the right information out to the families as fast as we can,” said Col. C.N. Haliday, commanding officer, MCLB Albany. “We want the residents to be able to make sound and informed decisions about their current situation.”
Haliday said the base is still working through some issues, but he wanted to give out as much information as he could.
“In a perfect world we could have held off on having this town hall meeting for another three to four weeks until we had all the information,” he said. “However, by this time, some of you might have spent some time or money fixing up your house or yard, and then you find out you have to move.
“You would quite understandably be upset, and might feel that if you had known this a couple of weeks ago you would have done a few things differently,” he said speaking to the crowd.
“Hold off on doing anything until we have a chance to evaluate the proposal,” Haliday continued. “In a few weeks we will hold another town hall meeting and let you know what our relocation plan is and how you will be affected. We will also give you a time window when we can offer you another home on base.”
Haliday explained the reason base officials are still working through some issues was because the partnership submitted their proposal to the Department of the Navy at the end of last month. After being looked at by DON, the proposal arrived at MCLB Albany last week and is currently under review.
“Our technical team is breaking it open now and translating the proposal into answers to your questions,” he said. “At the next town hall meeting, we will be able to give you more detailed information on the impact and who it will affect.”
“Unfortunately, there will be some inconvenience to service members and their families and it is my objective to minimize it as much as possible,” Haliday added.
“Overall, the families can expect to have new, larger homes with modern amenities,” said Haliday, who explained that he has gone through the privatization process at another installation.
After looking at several other locations on base, to include the golf course, it was decided that the present housing area would be the best location to build.
“By building over the current housing area, we expect to have nicer homes and nicer communities with more amenities. If they were to build new homes and not use the geothermal (heating and cooling) systems in place, the cost per unit would be higher and fewer amenities would go into each house,” he added.
According to Navy Lt. Cmdr. Phillip Knauss, director, Installation and Environment Division, the PPV partner will tear down the 1950s vintage-style homes and build state-of-the-art housing.
“This effort could not go much better than it is going right now,” Knauss said in the town hall meeting. “It is unfortunate that many people in this room today will not be here to live in the new homes. However, for the Marines that follow you, I am very excited because I can tell you that we have a great firm to work with and what they are looking to provide is exceptional.”
According to Capt. Todd Sanders, operations research analyst, Marine Corps Logistics Command, base residents are benefiting from the advance notice. He shared his experience with PPV while at his prior duty station.
“The first time I found out about privatization was when I was told to show up and sign the lease,” Sanders said. “However, from what I’ve seen here already, we are benefiting better because we have this opportunity to have this meeting and have command interest.”
Because of the periodic town hall meetings, Sanders’ outlook on the future of the PPV housing program here is positive.
“I am optimistic about the privatization here,” he said. “I think we have a good plan set up because it is laid out better and a little information is better than no information.”
Haliday emphasized that there will be a town hall meeting within the next four to six weeks which will provide more details.
More information about MCLB Albany’s PPV project can be obtained at http://www.ala.usmc.mil/housing or by calling the Housing Office at 639-5962.
PPV Q&A overview
During the town hall meetings there were question and answer sessions. The following, broken down by category, are some of the questions raised during the sessions: General questions
Why are we going PPV?
The DoD’s shrinking housing budget coupled with aging housing units and lack of funds to renovate or modernize our housing makes it difficult for the Navy and Marine Corps to provide modern housing to service members. The public-private partnership makes it possible for the Navy and Marine Corps to replace MCLB Albany’s existing homes quickly and economically.
When will the new construction begin?
At this stage of the project, the proposal from our PPV partner is still being evaluated and is subject to negotiation. We expect to be able to share the specifics with the community in a town hall meeting in June.
Will the new community design and homes be structured for separation of various ranks?
Areas will be designated for junior enlisted, noncommissioned officers, staff NCOs and officers. Actual occupancy may vary from the planned designation as the rank structure and housing needs often change from year to year.
Are we getting two-story units as seen at other bases?
We expect the partner will propose both one- and two-story units. Albany’s new homes will be either single-family dwellings or duplexes. Relocating
If I have to relocate to accommodate the initial demolition and construction phase and then have to move into one of the new units, will I still get a government-paid move?
Yes. A letter will be given to the Marine or sailor confirming they must relocate to accommodate the project which gives the Traffic Management Office the ability to authorize the government-paid move.
Will there be storage options available when I relocate?
Contract non-temporary storage can be provided only if you relocate to a smaller home on-base. If you relocate to another on-base home of the same size, NTS cannot be provided. If you elect to move into the local area, NTS cannot be provided. The next town hall meeting will provide detailed information with regard to local move and storage options.
Will I have to clean my house when I relocate to accommodate the demolition phase of the project?
If your home is not going to be reoccupied, you will be given a very short list of requirements to satisfactorily vacate. However, if you are vacating prior to Oct. 1 due to receipt of retirement, separation or permanent change of station orders and your quarters are needed to accommodate another family, the cleaning standards will not be relaxed. Because our agreement has not been finalized with the PPV partner, we cannot address applicable cleaning standards after Oct. 1.
I’m in receipt of orders to another accompanied duty station. I’d like to leave my family in housing here. Will that be possible after privatization?
Sponsors are required to submit a written request, with a copy of their orders, via their appropriate chain of command a minimum of 30 days prior to checking out of the command. Each request will be evaluated based on individual merit. Housing is provided to accommodate those Marines and sailors assigned to the immediate area. Leasing
Why do I need a military clause or a lease?
The PPV is private housing and a lease is required as is the case when renting in the private sector. The minimum lease period will be six months. The lease will contain a standard military clause that permits early termination of the lease when the sponsor receives orders out of the local area.
Is it necessary to renew a lease after the initial six-month lease?
If written notice to vacate is not given at the end of the original six-month lease, it becomes automatically renewed on a month-to-month basis.
How is the rental amount set and will there be increases in the rent?
Rent will be tied to the Basic Allowance for Housing of the senior sponsor. As the BAH rate adjusts, the rent will also adjust. Adjustments in BAH rates usually occur annually in January.
Is there a security deposit required?
Use of a unit dairy electronic fund transfer or an allotment eliminates the requirement for a security deposit. Housing freeze
Is there a “freeze” on housing (assignments) now?
Yes, we have stopped offering all three- and four-bedroom vacant homes to incoming Marines. Offers for two-bedroom units will stop soon. We want to ensure that our vacant inventory is reserved to accommodate those families who must be displaced. If you are a sponsor for an in-bound Marine or sailor, you should help pass the word and have them contact the Housing Office for full details.
Now that vacant homes are “frozen” in reserve for families who must relocate, will there be enough homes to accommodate everyone?
Today we have 250 homes with only 150 residents. The first phase of the PPV project requires 100 vacant homes to begin demolition. Mathematically we expect to be able to accommodate everyone who wants to remain on base. However, many families were offered homes larger than their bedroom entitlement because of our excess inventory. This created a large number of vacancies in our two-bedroom inventory. Relocation offers will be based on family composition bedroom entitlement rather than the size home they live in today. For example, a couple with one child who is living in a three-bedroom home today should anticipate being offered a two-bedroom unit during the relocation effort. Additional questions
Who will we call for housing maintenance after Oct. 1?
The PPV property manager will receive and respond to all service calls.
My wife and I have one child and are two-bedroom eligible. The new homes will only have three- and four-bedroom units. What size home am I eligible for?
You would be eligible for the three-bedroom unit; the smallest available size to match your family.
Do you think the demand for housing will increase after the homes are built? It could.
The number and size of homes to be built is determined based on projected military population, the percentage of Marines accompanied by their family and the composition of the family. Our calculation included the military police force which is being converted to civilian billets. We had to consider this into the number of homes we’d need for future families to avoid “over building” today. Also we will always have Marines who want to purchase a home in the community or who prefer to live in a specific school district.
Will the PPV project permit other than Marine families to live in the new homes?
All PPV projects have a prescribed priority system for various categories of eligible residents. We believe we have the right number and mix of homes in our project to keep the homes occupied with military families.