The Warner Robins City Council recently voted to approve the memorandum of agreement for the Georgia-Robins Aerospace Maintenance Partnership. This authorized the project’s funding search. Private companies will seek to raise funds for this $70 million-plus project. Our city’s indebtedness will increase. The city has already spent over $200,000 on G-RAMP including an environmental study that will take less than a year, but that should have been done first.
Encroachment of 82 homes on RAFB by being in a noise zone will cost over $5 million and need to be bought up before the next BRAC. Encroachment is the number one reason for base closures after BRACs. Yet the Warner Robins City Council has refused to contribute any city funding to buy up homes to end encroachment. They believe it’s the responsibility of Houston and Bibb counties which have only recently promised to contribute $100,000 annually for five years for a total of $1 million. This will take forever.
Our city council has its priorities wrong with G-RAMP and creating over $70 million in bonded debt on a project that is impractical and will never happen. Our property taxes will have to increase and employee layoffs are likely. The private sector has so far refused to invest a cent because it would not be a profitable investment.
It would create only 200-300 new contractor jobs with no guarantees to hire local citizens or for any actual maintenance work from RAFB. It’s time for our city council to ditch G-RAMP and use city funds to buy up homes and take other actions to end encroachment. Like the other two depots in Utah and Oklahoma did years ago!
Frank W. Gadbois is a resident of Warner Robins