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Possible JBLM cuts would be disastrous for Yelm

“New Army report projects worst-case cuts of up to 16,000 soldiers from JBLM”
“A decade of growth at Joint Base Lewis-McChord could be wiped away by 2017 if the Army carries out severe force reductions in the South Sound as described in a planning document released Thursday [June 26].

In a worst-case scenario, JBLM would lose about 16,000 active-duty military positions from its peak strength in 2011. That would include about 5,400 soldiers already gone through force reductions over the past two years.

That would leave the base with about 16,000 active-duty soldiers three years from now, fewer than it had in 2001 when the Army was building up its first Stryker brigades at the South Sound Army installation prior to the long wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The cuts would ripple out in Pierce and Thurston counties, likely removing about $971 million in annual income from the region as well as reducing sales tax receipts by about $17.4 million, according to the study.

The Army is in the midst of a postwar drawdown thats expected to reduce its total force from about 570,000 soldiers in 2011 to fewer than 450,000 in 2020. The number could drop as low as 420,000 if Congress does not repeal the next wave of forced federal budget cuts known as sequestration.

‘The potential elimination of thousands of military and civilian positions is devastating,’ said Rep. Denny Heck, D-Olympia, whose district includes JBLM,” quoting Adam Ashton in the Tacoma News Tribune.
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Editor’s Note:
When I ran for Mayor of Yelm in 2005, Yelm’s military population was at 8%.
Now, Mayor Harding and the City of Yelm tout Yelm’s military population nearing 40%.
Yelm is the most vulnerable of JBLM cuts, attracting and relying on developers to build so many lower-priced homes and enticing JBLM personnel on a monthly stipend to move here, which has placed this area in an extreme state of vulnerability. The city’s policy to throw all their eggs in one basket into housing developments and to not diversity is creating a “perfect storm,” covered here previously.
The Yelm City Council is to be commended on their conservative budgets, however they need to prepare for a major revenue loss here when whatever JBLM cuts do materialize in 2017.
As an example, Yelm’s property owners that pay the highest water/sewer bills in the county cannot be expected to pay more without a backlash.

Editor’s Note:
At the same time, Steven Wyble from the Nisqually Valley News filed this report June 26th:
“Yelm Open House Explores Land Use for Communities Near JBLM”
“How can JBLM and surrounding communities like Yelm and Roy grow together?”

“Thats the question South Sound Military & Communities Partnership asked the public at an open house Monday night [June 23] at Yelms public safety building.

The open house is part of a Joint Land Use Study sponsored by South Sound Military & Communities Partnership. The cities of Yelm and Roy are members of the organization.”
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Editor’s Note:
“Grow together”?
With potential JBLM military job cuts coming within a few years, shouldn’t their focus be on how Roy, Yelm and other communities weather these job reductions, which no matter the number of jobs cut, will ripple through this area?

Posted by Steve on July 3, 2014 at 7:07 am | Permalink

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