FAIRFIELD — Solano County will contribute $25,000 to local lobbying efforts to preserve missions at Travis Air Force Base and to attract new ones.
The county Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to make the county’s annual contribution to the Travis Community Consortium. Money helps support a contract with Madison Government Affairs to lobby on the consortium’s behalf.
Federal cost-savings measures, including the decision to retire the KC-10 fleet, made 2013 a “challenging and unpredictable” year for the base, a county report said. Travis Air Force Base is home to roughly half of the Air Force’s KC-10s and the aircraft is linked with 625 local military, civilian and contractor jobs, the report said.
“It is now more important than ever for the (consortium) to protect the base from a restructuring that would result in further relocation of vital operations and the loss of civilian jobs,” the report said.
All nine consortium members are considering an increase in their contributions to expand lobbying efforts, with the overall amount rising from $65,000 to $78,000. The county’s increase is from $22,000 to $25,000.
Other consortium members are Fairfield, Vacaville, Dixon, Suisun City, Solano Community College, Travis Credit Union, Solano Economic Development Corp. and Travis Regional Armed Forces Committee.
Solano County and Fairfield make the largest contributions at $25,000 apiece. County resident Don Tipton questioned why the county pays 32 percent of the overall cost, given that rural areas are home to only 5 percent of the county’s population.
Supervisor John Vasquez wasn’t complaining.
“Quite frankly, why shouldn’t the county pay more?” Vasquez said. “It’s important to the county overall.”
The Air Force could delay the KC-10 elimination by two years, pushing it to fiscal years 2018 through 2022, the county report said. Things will become more clear when President Barack Obama releases his proposed budget March 4, it said.
With the KC-10 being retired, the Travis Community Consortium will focus on preserving existing missions and seeking bridge missions, the report said. It will seek to position Travis Air Force Base to get the KC-46 air tanker, it said.
Another concern is the delayed delivery schedule for C-5Ms, which is a C-5 that has been modified. Travis Air Force Base was to get C-5Ms this month. Due to the government shutdown in October 2013, delivery has been pushed back to May, the report said.
Supervisors approved the $25,000 contribution by a 4-0 vote. Supervisor Skip Thomson was absent because he is in Washington, D.C., with the Delta Counties Coalition working on issues relating to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.