Guard scraps local readiness center - Bonner County Daily Bee: Local News

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Guard scraps local readiness center

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Posted: Thursday, August 1, 2013 10:00 am

SANDPOINT — A shortage of federal military construction funding is forcing the Idaho National Guard to do an about-face on a plan to develop a readiness center behind the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office.

The guard has had a temporary facility on the site for the past five years and anticipated $8 million in federal funding to establish a permanent facility.

But that funding has yet to materialize and the annual cost to maintain the facility was putting a strain on the guard’s budget. The annual cost of leasing portable buildings, utilities and other incidentals was running $50,000 to $60,000.

Moreover, a five-year lease for the portable buildings was up for renewal, said Col. Tim Marsano, a public affairs officer for the Idaho National Guard.

“We had to renew that lease for another five years without being certain that additional money would come for permanent facilities,” Marsano said on Wednesday.

The Guard determined that it made more economic sense to close the temporary facility and discontinue the plan to build a permanent one.

Major Gen. Gary Sayler, Idaho adjutant general and Idaho National Guard commander, thanked the city and Bonner County for its cooperation in the effort to establish the armory, which was home to a water-purification unit.

“Considering all of the conditions and variables, we feel this action is the most prudent option for our organization,” Sayler said in a statement.

Approximately 40 national guardsmen, an element of Company A, reported to the Sandpoint facility for training one weekend per month. They will now conduct their training at the Post Falls National Guard Armory as part of the 145th Brigade Support Battalion.

Marsano said he was not entirely clear on what held up to the funding, but noted that the budget climate has changed significantly since the Sandpoint Readiness Center was proposed in 2008.

“Certainly in the era of budget cuts, sequestration, et cetera, money that would have been available five years ago when we in the midst of two wars is not as easily obtained in 2013,” he said.

Bonner County Commissioner Mike Nielsen said he was disappointed to see the Guard leave. The county intended to share the site with the Guard to establish a new 911 center and an Emergency Operations Center for catastrophic events such as floods or wildfire.

Sharing the facility with the Guard would have reduced construction and other costs, said Nielsen.

“It would have had huge savings for the county. Now we’re going to have to build our own structure,” said Nielsen.

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  • NewDawn posted at 7:30 am on Fri, Aug 2, 2013.

    NewDawn Posts: 936

    The disgraceful decision made by the Federal Government to curtail a Grant for our Military,
    should have awakened the local citizenry out of their apathetic slumber. Instead of keeping
    our men and women, who risk their lives for us, close to our hearts, it seems that most of
    the people are oblivious of their service or just plain DON"T GIVE A DAMN !

    What a tragedy!

  • ski2work posted at 2:30 pm on Thu, Aug 1, 2013.

    ski2work Posts: 622

    Plenty of funding for elaborate Presidential vacations. Seems the reason for our federal government existence is being clouded by social needs and not the primary purpose which is national security.

  • NewDawn posted at 12:38 pm on Thu, Aug 1, 2013.

    NewDawn Posts: 936

    WOW - if this is not the greatest paradox to occur in these tumultuous times!
    Federal funds are available and have been granted to LPOHS to the tune of
    ONE MILLION DOLLARS - yet, there is NOTHING that can be spared or allotted to
    our Military? They were planning to build a "readiness center", for crying out loud!
    They sat on rented ground - what a shame! Nothing frivolous about constructing
    their own building.


    HOPE THEY ALL RUN TO MR WOODWARD ( who is spending the various enhancements
    we provided) IN TIME OF PERIL !!