Base’s budget bump: Minot Air Force Base adds $522.6M to local economy

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE – Minot Air Force Base pumped a whopping $522.6 million into the local economy in fiscal year 2012, the base’s highest economic impact to date.

The total was more than $29 million more than last year’s economic impact of $493.3 million.

Maj. Jorge Jimenez, commander of the base’s 5th Comptroller Squadron, presented the report Thursday to the Minot Area Chamber of Commerce’s Military Affairs Committee meeting at the Grand International Inn.

The report is prepared to inform community leaders and others of the significant economic impact that Minot AFB has on the local area in terms of payroll, purchases and jobs created.

Jimenez said it also shows what the Air Force is doing in sustaining operations at Minot AFB.

“This is a tremendous impact on our community and obviously, a vital part of our community,” said Pete Hankla, a member of the Military Affairs Committee.

Minot AFB is the nation’s only base with dual nuclear-capable wings. The 5th Bomb Wing, led by Col. Alexis Mezynski, has B-52 bombers. The 91st Missile Wing, led by Col. Robert Vercher, has Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles in underground facilities in the Minot missile field.

The annual payroll for military members, Air Force Reserve and civilians in fiscal year 2012 was more than $321 million, including more than $270.9 million for military members and $50.1 million for civilians.

“A significant portion of those salaries are spent in the local community,” Jimenez said. He said a factor that contributed was the basic allowance for housing for military members increased 40 percent because of the rising cost of housing here.

Expenditures for construction, services and procurement of materials, equipment and supplies totaled nearly $115 million.

The nearly $115 million includes construction (military construction program, military family housing and operations and maintenance), $58.5 million; services contracts (only contracts in the local economic area or contracts requiring the use of locally supplied goods and services), slightly more than $21 million; and other procurements (i.e. commissary, base Exchange, health and education), $35.3 million.

Construction expenditures include the completion of a third dormitory and the construction of a fourth dormitory and other projects, Jimenez said.

The estimated number of indirect jobs created was 2,124, with an estimated annual dollar value of $86.7 million. The average annual pay for the local community was $40,820.

The combination of the annual payroll, annual expenditures and value of jobs created resulted in the grand total of the $522.6 million economic impact.

Minot AFB has a total population of 12,807 people. That number includes 5,569 military members, 6,053 family members and 1,185 civilians.

Jimenez said about 50 percent of the population lives off base.

There was a large increase in population in fiscal year 2010 and that has now leveled off. A second squadron of B-52s contributed to the increase in population. The 69th Bomb Squadron officially activated at the base in September 2009.

Jimenez said military retirees make up 3 percent of the Minot population, with a yearly retired pay of $28.9 million in fiscal year 2012. He said that amount is not included in the economic impact report.

Compared to five years ago in fiscal year 2008, he said the fiscal year 2012 economic impact figures are almost $140 million more.

“Minot AFB will continue to have a positive impact on the local community in FY13 and beyond,” Jimenez said.