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Rosecrans announces economic gains to community

Airmen of the 139th Airlift Wing, Missouri Air National Guard build HESCO barriers around buildings on Rosecrans Air National Guard Base, St. Joseph, Mo., July 13, 2011.  These barriers are being put into place as a preparative action in case the Missouri River levees are breached.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Sheldon Thompson)

In the recent Missouri flooding, Air and Army National Guard members were activated on state orders here, injecting thousands of dollars into the local economy and saving potentially millions in infrastructure, business and private property damage. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Sheldon Thompson)

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- Rosecrans Air National Guard Base officials recently announced the base's economic impact here, which grew roughly $11 million more than the previous fiscal year.

The base tallied its impact to the surrounding community at $142 million for Fiscal Year 2011. The calculation for FY 2010 was $131 million.

"It was up a good bit from the base's construction, including the taxiway [reconstruction], as well as expenditures in flood contingency operations bumped it up some," said Lt. Col. James Treu, Finance manager and Comptroller Flight commander.

Treu said he conducted a thorough accounting of Rosecrans's economic impact.

For FY 2011, he included spending brought about by active duty and Reserve Command service members, temporarily or permanently stationed here, as well as spending by base visitors.

Taking raw numbers and figuring in indirect local spending through a multiplier effect helps officials understand the Air Guard's impact in the local economy, he said.

"When people come into the community and say spend money at a hotel, that money is then spent by the hotel for other things, and that's a multiplier effect," Treu explained.

Still, even without such multipliers, the base has steadily grown its expenditures, said Treu. That includes the recent addition of two aircraft, as well as increases in military and civilian personnel, wages, and benefits.

Treu went on to say that officials anticipate the upcoming air show this spring will reap an additional economic windfall to the local economy.

"The air show will easily add several hundred thousand dollars, and probably more than one million," said Treu. "That's a nice little bump."

He explained that the base works with the air show's committee, St Joseph Chamber of Commerce, and others, as a central player to the event, which includes a base open house.

"We are a central part of that particular economic impact," he said.

Not included in the overall impact figures, Treu said, is the additional economic value gained from a "dual use" of the National Guard.

Sixty-six of the Air Guard's 89 flying wings, including Rosecrans, operate at civilian airfields and provide valuable air traffic control and fire fighting services, among other tax savings to the communities they operate in, he said.

True also pointed out the economic impact of community support and response missions as another financial benefit.

In the recent Missouri flooding, Air and Army National Guard members were activated on state orders here, injecting thousands of dollars into the local economy and saving potentially millions in infrastructure, business, and private property damage.

Still, Treu said he is unable to calculate the overall economic impact for Fiscal Year 2012 yet. His economic projections remain contingent upon the nation's overall defense budget forecast.

Our local communities take a very serious interest in maintaining a healthy economic relationship with the National Guard, said Treu.