Economic Study Of Military Claims Billiondollar Blast
Written by Candice Ventra on September 14, 2000
By Candice Ventra
Military installations in Miami-Dade inject about $1 billion in the local economy and are responsible for some $145.6 million in expenditures, economists said.
The announcement was made by the Beacon Council, Miami-Dade County’s economic development arm, and its Military Affairs Council.
The Military Affairs Council group made up of representatives of the Greater Miami, South Dade, Homestead and Florida City chambers of commerce got a grant of about $135,000 from Enterprise Florida, the state’s economic development agency, for an impact study on the military’s influence on local economy.
The findings released last week, said John Cordrey, Beacon Council vice president of research & strategic planning, were based on surveys sent to most of Miami’s military installations. Those include Homestead Air Reserve Station, the Coast Guard a V.A. hospital and the Southern Command – a Pentagon military station.
"We didn’t get a 100% response," Mr. Cordrey said. "We feel the numbers are a little understated."
He said the findings are preliminary.
Some findings, he said, came as a surprise. For example, the V.A. hospital is a major economic driver in this community, accounting for 20% of all defense-related jobs here, Mr. Cordrey said.
He said researchers also found that the military has 5,866 full-time personnel here and 1,755 reserve personnel.
The annual impact of visitors coming into the county for military purposes translates into 78,486 room-nights and $8,586,650 in expenditures.
"This gives a little economic understanding of the importance of the defense industry in our community," Mr. Cordrey said. "Now we ask ourselves what we need to do to keep and expand these major defense type operations that are here."
The report also included Broward County in some figures, he said. Researchers found that the military supports more than 19,660 jobs in the public and private sector for both counties.
The military impact announcement also comes just days after Lt. Gen. Peter Pace was named commander-in-chief of the Southern Command.
In June, a task force was set up by the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce to help the US Southern Command buy its 28.5-acre headquarters at 3511 NW 91st Ave., from which it oversees operations in Latin America and the Caribbean.
According to Philip Blumberg, chamber president and CEO of American Ventures Corp., the purchase of the property which is now being rented will ensure that Southern Command remains in the area.
"I asked a senior level task force led by Ramiro Ortiz to begin an intensive program over the summer to secure funding in Congress for the acquisition of the property," Mr. Blumberg said, "in order to ensure its permanent residence in Miami."
Mr. Ortiz, task force chairman and president of SunTrust Miami, said the main purpose of the task force was to get support for the issue on both the local and state levels.
"Now it’s up to the US Department of Defense to put $40 million aside in their budget to purchase South Com," Mr. Ortiz said. "They were reluctant to put it in their budget because they felt there wasn’t enough support. Now they feel they have it."
Mr. Ortiz was not sure when Congress would make a decision on the purchase of Southern Command’s headquarters.