New statistics released from the U.S. Navy Fleet Forces Command help confirm the need to keep the Oceana land acquisition program going. The program started because of the 2005 Defense Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission order that stated that if development of new homes and businesses around Oceana did not roll back or stop, the commission would move Oceana’s jets to Florida.
The land acquisition program, passed in 2006, stated that $15 million a year, or $7.5 million split between Virginia Beach and the state, would be spent to prevent new development around the Oceana jet base and to roll back existing development. Since 2007, Virginia Beach and the state have split the annual $15 million to purchase land from voluntary sellers. However, this year, the General Assembly did not allocate the state’s $7.5 million for the program into their 2012 budget.
Not surprisingly, concerns are rising in the Hampton Roads community. The statistics, published in the Commander Navy Region Mid-Atlantic report, show that the military presence in Hampton Roads is crucial to the region and to the state of Virginia. The report shows that Oceana employs a total of 10,754 military and civilian personnel with a total payroll of $821 million. The total number of Navy “Family” in the region is 266,874. Moving the jets is just one step closer to closing the base completely. View the report.
Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms says Virginia Beach will set aside its $7.5 million regardless of what the state does.