BRUNSWICK – The Town Council has voted to apply for a grant to study possible uses of the Brunswick Naval Air Station if it is among the bases selected for closure next year.
The Department of Defense is due to release a list of bases that it says should be closed. Town officials said that by applying for the grant, they are not attempting to influence any decision about base closings.
The Federal Register notice announcing the availability of grant money notes that “receipt of such planning assistance cannot prejudice a community in the defense base closure and realignment process.”
“It’s no sign that we’re not supporting our base,” Town Manager Donald Gerrish said after Monday’s vote. “By applying for this funding, it does not have any impact on whether the base stays or goes.”
The 2005 Department of Defense Base Realignment and Closing report submitted to Congress estimated that the department does not need about a quarter of its current military infrastructure.
In four previous rounds of base closings from 1988 to 1995, 97 military installations were closed.
This time around, the Defense Department must issue its recommendations for base closings by May 2005. The recommendations are reviewed by an independent commission, the president and Congress before they take effect.
The grant, which would be awarded through the defense department’s Office of Economic Adjustment, would be used to hire a consultant to examine issues such as governance, existing infrastructure, and some preliminary master planning if the base were to close.
The department awards grants of up to $175,000. A local match of 10 percent would be required. If Brunswick is awarded a grant, the Town Council still must vote to accept and expend it.