Friday, July 30, 2010

Clarifying a post last week on Balfour homes at Earle

The info we received and posted last week about the Department of Navy's intention to open vacant (and, again) privatized homes at NWS Earle was not too far off, but our earlier reference to civilians as a potential rental target was fortunately askew.

A postcard disseminated by Balfour Beatty Communities, owner-operator of some 100 houses unrelated to Laurelwood on NWS Earle, suggests that rental housing could become available to "full military retirees, DOD civilians, reservists and active military who have current base access." Nowhere does the postcard ID people unrelated to the military as prospective renters.

Outside of self-serving financial motives, one can only guess why the DoN, again, is being an inconsiderate neighbor and so eager to fill empty houses on an active Naval weapons facility and stress not only a vital Naval mission, but also the surrounding communities (i.e. educating dependents on the local taxpayers' dime, mounting fear that people that do not belong on an active weapons base are let inside Earle).

One can also guess that the DoN (i.e. decision makers at the Pentagon) wants to use NWS Earle as a test case for better-monetizing underutilized base housing, or to get its monies worth, so to speak, on $6.3 million of main gate security upgrades contracted in March to P&S Construction of Lowell, Mass. Either way, DoN leaders on the federal level continue to show little regard for the impact to the local communities of its ill-advised decisions and poor oversight and business planning on privatized housing.

Certainly we will continue to share any new information on this front with our supporters, and encourage federal and local representatives to keep tabs on the Balfour Beatty housing situation at NWS Earle, which is looking like another, albeit smaller-scale, unfunded federal mandate to the base's host towns.

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