The Columbus Air Force Base increased its payroll and annual expenditures in the 2009 fiscal year, pumping $287 million into the local economy, according to an economic impact report released Friday.
Broken down, the base contributed an average $780,000 per day to the region, said Major Jennifer Varga, commander of the 14th comptroller squadron.
“The Columbus Air Force Base is the engine that drives the Golden Triangle economy,” said Varga, whose office compiled the report.
About $127 million of the total impact was from annual expenditures, composed of contracts, supplies, equipment, construction and other miscellaneous expenses.
About $120 million was from payroll expenses to the 3,271 air force personnel.
The base also created 50 new jobs for civilians, bringing the total number of indirect jobs to 1,096 and infusing more than $41 million into the local economy.
Col. Barre Seguin, new wing commander, said he was “surprised” by the sharp increase considering the down economy.
“I think that speaks volumes about the support we have from the local community,” he said.
Last year”s impact was $28 million higher than in fiscal year 2008, due in part to increases in payroll and annual base expenditures.
The spike in spending was due mostly to $18 million in additional construction, contracts, supplies and equipment, Varga said.
The base had 28 construction projects last year that cost a total $28 million, including a $2.9 million phase one renovation to its Wing Headquarters building, she continued.
The base also spent $6.5 million for a Child Development Center, $5 million to place all of its utility lines underground and $3.3 million to renovate a B-52 hangar.
Seguin plans to seek additional funding to finish phase two of the headquarters project and move forward with several other projects this year, he said; $10 million in funding has already been approved for a new fuel maintenance facility, he added.
Other base expenses during the year include $89.9 million in contracts, supplies and equipment and $8 million for miscellaneous expenses like heath care and travel.
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