Our network

Politics

'Robins Air Force Base: Middle Georgia's Economic Livelihood'

'Robins Air Force Base: Middle Georgia's Economic Livelihood'

 

By: Sen. Cecil Staton

ATLANTA (April 16, 2012) – If you are a resident of Middle Georgia, then you are probably aware of the encroachment problem surrounding Robins Air Force Base. This is an issue that if not fixed could potentially have a negative impact on one of the state’s largest job producers.

Located in the heart of Middle Georgia, the region’s local economy is largely dependent on the fate of Robins Air Force Base and its ability to maintain and attract future military operations. As most residents of middle Georgians can attest, Robins Air Force Base is a welcome presence in the community and is responsible for pumping billions of dollars into the local economy. 

In response to the growing national debt crisis, the U.S. Department of Defense has already begun implementing significant cuts to the nation’s defense budget and has even mentioned the possibility of another round of BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure). Previously, these tough decisions have come at a high cost to local communities that thrive off the business and jobs created as a result of military installations around the country.

As we move forward, it is imperative for state and local officials as well as the residents of Bibb and Houston Counties to unite together behind resolving the ongoing encroachment issues located just north of the base’s runway. If these issues are not resolved expediently, it could have tremendous regional implications for Middle Georgia when heading into the next round of BRAC assessments.

One of the major components in determining a military base’s viability is its ability to carry out military operations and training in a safe and efficient manner. With that in mind, local and state officials are moving to purchase parcels of land surrounding the base’s encroachment zone in an effort to ensure public safety and address concerns over the noise associated with military activity. In addition, the purchase of this land will further secure the base’s national competitiveness and overall viability by opening up land for potential use in future military operations.

Residential areas located close to military installments are at greater risk for potential crashes and may pose a significant threat to public safety. These risks were highlighted recently when an aircraft used in military maneuvers and training crashed into a local apartment complex near a military base in Virginia. Although these incidents are few and far between, we must take pre-emptive steps to prevent the threat of similar incidents happening here and purchase the nearby homes and land that limit the base’s long-term growth.  

Recognizing the need to protect the future viability of Robin’s Air Force Base, Governor Deal and members of the local delegation appropriated approximately $7.5 million to alleviate these encroachment issues. This will also help provide civilians near the base with fair market value on their homes and incentivizes more residents to move out of the base’s encroachment zone.

I have been extremely pleased at the combined effort of both state and local officials as we move forward with this process.  I would also like to commend Major General Robert McMahon for his 34 years of dedicated service to the United States military. Earlier this session, Major General Robert McMahon was recognized with Senate Resolution 1682, recognizing his service to the nation as well as to the residents of Middle Georgia. Major General Robert McMahon has played a critical role in providing outstanding leadership at the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center and led the efforts to deal with the encroachment issue around Robins Air Force Base.

The bottom line is simple – saving Robins Air Force Base is vital to ensuring the future economic growth and development of Middle Georgia.  We must act now. And your local delegation is taking the lead!

Peach, Crawford Counties January Unemployment Rate

Peach, Crawford Counties January Unemployment Rate

Peach County's unemployment rate for January was 11.6 percent, the Georgia Department of Labor news release says.

Crawford County's unemployment rate in January was 10 percent.

That's compared to metro Macon's 9.9 percent unemployment rate for January.

But that's still less than a year ago, at 10.5 percent.

Sam Hall with the Georgia Department of Labor says the increases should not be cause for concern because seasonal workers leaving temporary holiday jobs play a major factor in the variation.

Crawford County Primaries Voter Turnout

Crawford County Primaries Voter Turnout

Crawford County voter turnout was 12 percent for the presidential primary election.

That's according to the Crawford County Board of Elections.

 

Peach County Primaries Voter Turnout

Peach County Primaries Voter Turnout

Peach County voter turnout was 19.36 percent for the presidential primary election and Peach County's SPLOST.

That's according to the Peach County Board of Elections.

 

Peach County SPLOST Passes

Peach County voters gave their stamp of approval to the county's SPLOST Tuesday night. It passed 1889 votes to 889 votes.

County Commissioners estimate that the SPLOST could bring in $21.7 million dollars over 6 years to the county for special projects.

Some of the big projects include road projects, a sewer system for Southwest Peach County, and a workforce development center that would be run by Middle Georgia Technical College.

Commission Chairman Melvin Walker said he is happy about the results.

"The public we gave them a plan on how we want to manage the county through 2021 and they're saying go ahead, we want to give you that opportunity," said Walker. "So I hope we are going to live up to our obligation. "

The SPLOST will take effect in 2015.

Peach County SPLOST Passes

Peach County SPLOST Passes

8:50 p.m. Peach County SPLOST passes with 1889 votes. That's 68% of the vote.

8 p.m. 67% vote for the Peach County SPLOST with 45% of precincts reporting.

Polls closed at 7 p.m.

Check back for poll results in your county here.

'Super Tuesday' Voters Will Decide Questions in Peach County

'Super Tuesday' Voters Will Decide Questions in Peach County

Gingrich, Paul, Santorum and Romney won't be the only choices here in Central Georgia on March 6, Super Tuesday.

Peach County voters will decide on a $21 million SPLOST that would pay for road and bridge projects, improvements to city and county buildings, vehicles, recycling equipment and more. Peach County will split the money with the cities of Byron and Fort Valley.

Of course, voters everywhere in the state can vote on Georgia's Republican presidential primary, which includes Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum and several other candidates.