SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --
When the Air Force announced a change to the way utility allowances are calculated for housing residents, many residents wondered exactly how that change would affect them.
Base leadership and Tierra Vista Communities representatives answered that question for more than 40 Schriever housing residents during a town hall meeting at the Tierra Vista Community center here June 27.
“The program is shifting to reward you for what you use,” said Col. DeAnna Burt, 50th Space Wing commander. “Part of the purpose for the change is to standardize (the calculation) across the Department of Defense. I think it’s a good thing.”
John Bittner, TVC utility manager, explained the utilities program is an Air Force program, which is run by TVC here.
“The purpose of the program is to conserve energy,” he said. “This change is not going to affect (residents) much.”
Under the old policy, utility allowances were calculated by multiplying the five year average utility use for all like homes (for example, all 3-bedroom junior NCO homes) by 110 percent. Residents could receive a rebate even if they used up to 10 percent more energy than the average. Bittner said the reason the average was multiplied by 110 percent was to create a “cushion” to account for variations in rates due to weather conditions.
The new policy will still be based on the average usage for all like homes; however, the calculation is 100 percent of the current monthly average and residents will only receive a rebate if they are below the average. Residents living in base housing prior to June 13 will still have the 10 percent buffer for rate calculations until June 2, 2017. Residents who began living in base housing after June 13 will immediately fall into the new policy.
“The only change is how your bill is calculated,” Bittner said. “Your monthly statement will give better feedback because the graph will show your usage compared to the current average, so you’ll know exactly where you are compared to the average.”
Bittner suggested some ways residents can reduce their energy consumption including changing thermostat settings when the home is empty, turning off lights and limiting hot water usage.
Another purpose for the policy change is to reduce expenditures for property management agencies. Those agencies will be able to put the money saved on utilities towards community improvement projects.
“There will be about $500,000 saved,” Bittner said. “That money will go back into the community through things like home repair, landscaping and facility improvement.”
The new utility allowance policy wasn’t the only topic discussed. Representatives from multiple units briefed on important issues as well.
Staff Sgt. Morris Thomas, NCO in charge of wing occupational safety, discussed the bike safety program and some of the results they’ve seen so far.
“We’re trying to make sure the kids are doing the right thing, every time,” he said.
The 50th Security Forces Squadron representative discussed the progress of the pending Neighborhood Watch program and encouraged people to participate and be vigilant.
“We are here for you,” said Holly Jones, 50 SFS investigator. “Please, let us know if you see something.”
Special Agent Ryan Cobb, Air Force Office of Special Investigations criminal branch chief, let residents know of briefings OSI will hold about social media 9:30-11 a.m. (6-12 years) and 4:30-6 p.m. (13-18) July 20. The briefings will focus on keeping children safe while engaging social media sites.
The 50th Civil Engineer Squadron, 21st Medical Squadron and public health collaborated in a presentation regarding mosquitos on base. Thus far, mosquito counts have been down significantly from the previous two years.
Public health has been deploying mosquito traps since May, but said the counts are so low they haven’t yet trapped any.
On the lighter side, Maj. Merrell Mobley, 50th Force Support Squadron commander, discussed upcoming base events including the Summer Slam Base Picnic July 15, and an outdoor concert featuring “American Idol” winner David Cook Sept. 16. He also used the location of the meeting to promote another 50 FSS program.
“What do people call this room,” he asked. “Most call it the multi-purpose room. I call it the Schriever theatre because this is where we have our movie screenings.”
Peterson, Schriever and Cheyenne Mountain Spouse’s Club president Stephanie Thien explained what the club is, or more importantly, what it isn’t.
“Everybody knows the spouse’s club, right? We get together, we have white gloves on (and) we drink tea,” she joked. “That’s not what we do. (We’re) all about giving back to the communities we are in.”
The PSC, a non-profit organization, has multiple volunteer opportunities planned for the year including programs with Habitat for Humanity, Care and Share and Kids Against Hunger.
The meeting closed with a question-and-answer session where, in response to a variety of issues raised, Burt encouraged residents to register for AtHoc and come to leadership if they have concerns.
For more information, call 567-5040.