VALDOSTA -- With the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure round beginning, the Valdosta State University South Georgia Institute decided to conduct a study on how Moody Air Force Base impacts the Valdosta Metropolitan Statistical Area.
The results show that losing the base would have a significant impact on the community.
Dr. Cindi Tori, assistant professor with the marketing and economic department at VSU, conducted the 14-page study. It took her a couple of months to complete, from the research to the final draft.
Tori said she was asked to do the study because the Institute had not conducted a survey in more than 10 years.
"Any time a business or institution is in a large community and is a large institute, it's important to know its impact on the community," she said. "Especially if there is a possibility of it closing. For instance, I will be conducting a survey on VSU as well."
BRAC 2005 Final Selection criteria had been narrowed to eight items and divided into two categories -- military value and other considerations. The study focuses on two items in the other considerations category:
-- The economic impact on existing communities in the vicinity of military installations.
-- The ability of both the existing and potential receiving communities' infrastructure to support forces, missions and personnel.
Tori divided her study into three sections -- an overview of Moody and the Valdosta Metropolitan Statistical Area, the definition of an economic impact study and what is used to calculate economic impacts and the output and employment impact results of the study.
Listed are some of the main points of the study:
Moody AFB covers 11,402 acres of federally owned land. It consists of the main base, the Grand Bay range and the Grassy Pond Recreational Annex. Moody is home to the 347th Rescue Wing, the only one of its kind in the Air Force. It also has the Air Education and Training Command's 479th Flying Training Group and the Air Combat Command's 820th Contingency Response Group in all operations.
Employment and Population Overview
Moody is the largest employer in Lowndes County, with 4,132 military personnel and 1,412 civilian personnel as of September 2003. The Moody workforce represents 9.7 percent of the jobs in the Valdosta MSA population, with the total workforce being 56,874 (2002 figure). The active military personnel and dependents are nearly 18 percent of the Valdosta MSA population, which has a total population of about 121,144 (2002 figure). About 85 percent of the personnel and dependents live off base, and Moody estimates more than 15,000 retired personnel live within 75 miles of the base.
Direct and Total Economic Impact
The total direct economic impact of Moody on the Valdosta MSA was $279,579, 271 and 5,544 jobs in 2003. The total economic impact of Moody on the Valdosta MSA is $375,039,680 and 9,372 jobs in 2003. A previous study conducted in 1991 by Dr. J.L. Love for the Institute stated the direct impact was $259.5 million, and 7,165 jobs would be affected.
Tori said she was not surprised by the change in impact from 1991 to 2003.
"Over time, prices increase and the economy changes," she said. "All of these are factors in change."
The study did not look at long term effects of Moody closing, but Tori said Valdosta would not "dry up and go away."
"There will be a significant short term impact, as there would be with any large institution closing," she said. "Valdosta will not go away, but won't recover after a few months -- it would take years."
To contact reporter Michelle Taylor, please call 229-244-3400, ext. 245.
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