Base’s economic impact felt throughout region

I n the wake of an economic impact report that revealed Joint Base McGuire-Dix- Lakehurst contributes $2.8 billion to the local economy, the Ocean County Board of Freeholders said the partnership between the base and county remains stronger than ever.

Portions of the military installation are in Jackson and Plumsted.

“The base remains an important component both in the defense of our nation and in the local economy,” said Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari. “We will continue to support the base and work hand in hand with the military on a number of important initiatives.”

According to a press release from the county, the Economic Impact Analysis, commissioned by and submitted to the base in April, states that the Joint Base generates 65,000 private and government jobs with a payroll of more than $1.93 billion.

“Clearly, along with tourism and the medical arts, the military is vital to our economic well being,” Vicari said.

Vicari said the freeholders have a long history of supporting the base. In the 1990s the county vehemently opposed a federal proposal to shut Navy Lakehurst.

After that success, the freeholders partnered with the Navy and Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and former Rep. Jim Saxton (R-NJ) to not only protect Lakehurst, but to increase its mission, according to the press release. Navy Lakehurst is responsible for the launching and landing systems used aboard the Navy’s nuclear-powered aircraft carriers.

In 2009, the U.S. Department of Defense combined the three neighboring facilities – McGuireAir Force Base, Fort Dix and Navy Lakehurst, into Joint Base McGuire-Dix- Lakehurst.

The result is a mega complex that contributes $3.4 billion to the state’s gross domestic product, $118.7 million in state tax revenue and $119.7 million in local tax revenue to Ocean, Monmouth and Burlington counties, according to the press release.

Vicari said the economic impact from the base ripples through the local economy, creating jobs and boosting nearby businesses.

Each year the military invests $428 million in new construction at the base. The freeholders have sponsored seminars that teach local business operators how to bid for construction and other military and government contracts.

To ensure that the Joint Base will continue to operate for years to come, the county has purchased and preserved open space around the facility.

Frequently, when residential development encroaches too close to a military facility, it often puts pressure on the Pentagon to either close or relocate a base, according to the press release.