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Fort Stewart to cut non-essential services
Trash services, gym hours, motor pool will be affected
0115 BG Phillips
Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Phillips - photo by Photo provided.

Fort Stewart is joining several other agencies and tightening its budgetary belt. Funding has been reduced for a number of services at Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield along with other army installations across the country.

Post officials announced that non-essential services will be affected by the cuts.

Dumpsters will be emptied less frequently and operating hours at the post gym and motor pool have been shortened. Under-utilized facilities such as dining halls also may close, forcing soldiers to walk or drive to a dining hall a farther distance from their barracks. Grass in common areas will not be mowed as often and a post gate may be closed from time to time, officials said.

These changes are little more than inconveniences to help conserve money, Fort Stewart’s leaders say.

However, some services will not be cut. Army Family Covenant programs such as child care will continue. Fire and police protections services also will not be affected, officials said. In addition, programs to prepare soldiers and their families for deployment will not be touched.

"As is the case across the nation for virtually everyone, our Army’s budget this year will be tighter than what we’ve been accustomed to seeing over the past few years," Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Phillips, deputy commander, said on Facebook earlier this week. "But no training or services for our soldiers and their families will vanish. We owe you nothing less. That’s the promise we made to you with the Army Family Covenant. You deserve the services that the covenant delivers."

The general suggested military members and their families try to "keep things in perspective."

Mike Biering, Fort Stewart deputy garrison commander, said the post was fortunate to receive supplemental funds "to support the war effort" during the past several years and so was able to "elevate services to unprecedented levels."

"We have established here at Fort Stewart very high expectations (for services)," he said.

He added Fort Stewart received the CINC award for installation excellence for four consecutive years. Wining installations are judged on their resource management capabilities.

Now, the DoD leadership has asked installations to scale back on some services, he said.

"We have to be frugal stewards of the taxpayers’ money," Biering said. "There will be some changes in services due to budgetary constraints. And we’ll be fine."

He said the post is also taking a hard look at energy conservation and who is hired to help save tax dollars.

Biering estimated the budget has been cut by about 39 percent compared to last year’s operating fund budget.

The garrison deputy commander reiterated Army Family Covenant programs will not be affected.

"We just had one child-care center facility accredited," he said. Another child care center has been built and applied for accreditation, Biering added.

He explained any services that prepare, train or deploy soldiers for overseas also will not be cut. These services come under Army Force Generation Biering added.

The deputy garrison commander said if the post is prudent with expenditures and makes wise use of existing resources, then Fort Stewart’s operational budget could be reassessed in March or April, at the fiscal year’s halfway mark. If they receive high marks in frugality, they could receive additional funding, he said.

The installation’s fiscal year is from Oct. 1-Sept. 30.

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