The efforts to base the Navy’s F35C Joint Strike Fighter squadron at Naval Air Facility El Centro continues with the Imperial County Board of Supervisors giving money to the group doing the home-basing attraction efforts.
The so-called Joint Strike Fighter Coalition received a pledge of $10,000 from the board Tuesday.
This is seed money to launch an informational effort to encourage the home-basing of the joint strike fighters, according to a county press release.
NAF El Centro is one of two bases being considered to house these fighter planes.
Naval Air Station Lemoore is the other base under review.
With the contribution, the board is also challenging all local agencies to help fund the effort, the release notes.
The financial support the coalition is asking will hire a lobbyist in Washington, D.C., who specializes in military issues, Supervisor Jack Terrazas said.
The conservative figure needed for a successful effort is $100,000, said Lisa Gallinat, co-chairwoman of coalition. This would include not only money for a lobbyist, but also travel expenses for officials involved in the effort.
The city of Imperial has already supported the effort by lending their lobbyist to the coalition, she said. But to keep using just the city of Imperial would be unfair, Gallinat said, because all of the county will benefit if the effort is successful.
Some 2,500 additional military personnel would be assigned to NAF El Centro and create an additional 2,000 civil jobs on the base if the effort succeeds, according to a report to the board.
Moreover, additional military housing would stimulate the construction industry and create new jobs, the same report reads.
“I would hope that El Centro comes very big on this (funding effort),” Supervisor Gary Wyatt said, because El Centro is the biggest recipient of the NAF.
But El Centro isn’t the only agency targeted.
With the support of the board, the coalition will now start writing letters to businesses and visiting city council meetings across the county, Gallinat said.
The coalition members already started the funding effort by each making a minimum contribution of $500, Gallinat said.
“So not only are we asking for (contributions),” she said, “we are also putting our money where our mouth is.”
She noted “there isn’t a donation too small or too large,” and she encouraged county residents to contribute to this effort that could benefit everyone.
Those interested in funding the Joint Strike Fighter Coalition effort can contact the El Centro Chamber of Commerce at 760-352-3681.
Here are four things that happened at Tuesday’s meeting:
1 — A contract with Imperial Valley Regional Occupational Program for project WORK, was renewed by the board. WORK, which provides subsidized employment to eligible participants, will cost about $1.1 million to the county.
2 — The board approved a joint resolution between Imperial County Office of Education and the county establishing a procedure for school districts to borrow money from the county based on anticipated revenue from the state.
3 — The Imperial County Family Justice Center received a resolution from the board supporting its establishment. Family Justice Centers provide medical services, crises intervention and legal assistance in issues of domestic violence.
4 — The paving of about 16 miles of various unpaved county roads were sent out to bid with an estimated construction cost of $1.3 million. The projects are funded by grant funds making no impact to the general fund.
Staff Writer Alejandro Davila can be reached at 760-337-3445 or email@example.com
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