|Reception of the wounded soldiers by the national authorities at Fortress Monroe, Va (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
RICHMOND - Governor Bob McDonnell’s biennial budget will include significant new state funding for the Fort Monroe Authority. Fort Monroe was deactivated as a United States military installation in the fall of 2011 and the Fort Monroe Authority will be responsible for the property and land returned to the Commonwealth. Additional portions of Fort Monroe were declared a National Monument by President Barack Obama in 2011 and will be administered by the National Park Service. The Fort occupies a prominent place in Virginia and America history dating back to the arrival of the first colonists in Virginia. During the Civil War it became known as “Freedom’s Fortress” as thousands of slaves sought refuge at the Union-held installation. Fort Monroe has remained a symbol of our nation’s struggle to protect those seeking freedom.
The governor’s budget provides the following funding for the Fort Monroe Authority:
· $701,620, from the general fund, in supplemental funding in FY 2014.
· $6.7 million in FY 2015 and $5.5 million in FY 2016, in general fund support, for the operations and management of the fort, including staff. Funding will address the primary drivers of expenditures, such as utilities and maintenance.
· The governor’s budget amendments also authorize the issuance of $22.5 million in bonds through the Virginia Public Building Authority. It is anticipated that over the next five or six years the authority needs to make approximately $26 million in capital improvements to buildings and infrastructure on the property. The authority has funding from other sources to address the difference.
o The bond funds will allow the authority to act on critical infrastructure needs at the Fort, such as significant repairs to roofs and elevators, improvements to the gas, water, sewer, and stormwater systems, and improvements to roads, bridges, sidewalks, and parking lots.
o The improvements that the bonds will finance will allow the authority to rehabilitate residential units. This will permit the authority to collect market rents.
o The improvements that the bonds will finance will also allow the authority to address roof leaks and non-functioning HVAC and elevators that currently make the units unusable for commercial tenants.
The proposed Fort Monroe Master Plan provides for a combination of mixed use of residential and commercial property, including new construction and adaptive reuse. The operating and capital expenses the Authority will incur in the current fiscal year, and fiscal years 2015 and 2016, are necessary to implement that Master Plan.
The governor will continue to make other budget-related announcements in the days leading up to the formal unveiling of his biennial budget during his Address to the Joint Money Committees on December 16th in Richmond.