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Tinker AFB, community develop cost-saving initiatives

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. (AFNS) -- In light of defense budget constraints, officials from Tinker Air Force Base and the local community partnered to develop and implement cost-saving initiatives expected to save the base more than $4,000 annually.

In November 2012, Tinker AFB and local community members from Del City, Midwest City and Oklahoma City, as well as Oklahoma County began discussing beneficial partnerships. They brainstormed several and brought two, jail services and juvenile services, to fruition.

"Partnerships are really critical for the Air Force right now because we are at a reduced level of service right now," said Geri Hart, the 72nd Air Base Wing Civil Engineer Directorate asset manager. "When we talk about these partnerships and what makes them work, we can leverage what the city is already doing and have them do these services for us at a reduced cost. The savings from these mutually beneficial services, can be placed in another area to help fund much needed services for Tinker Airmen."

The jail services partnership could save Tinker AFB at least $4,000 annually in travel costs by allowing Tinker AFB inmates to use Midwest City jail facilities versus traveling 50 miles away to another facility. In return, Midwest City will be paid for inmate lodging.

Tinker AFB's youth will also be able to take advantage of Midwest City's juvenile counseling system within the city police department should the convening authority decide it is appropriate. If a youth is sentenced to the program, parents or guardians are responsible for the associated costs. Prior to the partnership, Tinker AFB's options were limited and were only applicable for punishing lesser offenses.

"The community projects that Tinker leadership has engaged with its surrounding communities are examples of cost-savings projects that are being studied by other military installations across the United States," said Tim Lyon, the assistant city manager of administration for the City of Midwest City. "These projects are viewed as leading edge solutions by the DOD as it relates to the future budgetary constraints facing the military. Tinker leadership should be commended for their creative and innovative solutions that far exceed other military installations in the United States."

As a result of Tinker AFB officials' effort to build strong relationships with the local community, the Association of Defense Communities named the base as the 2013 Department of Defense Installation of the Year. The award recognizes "an installation whose efforts to build strong partnerships with the local community, region or state on issues including promoting installation efficiency and innovation, enhancing community-military partnerships and advancing DOD's energy goals."

"In keeping with the spirit of 'Every Dollar Counts,' I'm pleased with what the Tinker Airmen have accomplished," said Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Larry Spencer, who heads the effort to generate budget savings that may be used to support more urgent readiness needs. "These Airmen have created successful community partnerships that helped to save money and still meet base support requirements."
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