Leave It To The Federal Government To Spend 20 Years Building/Renovating 1,300 Homes

The Minot Daily News reports that a housing project at the Minot Air Force base has, after 20 years and almost $400 million in expenditures, completed the building or renovation of 1,302 homes.

After nearly 20 years of work to replace or renovate Minot Air Force Base’s family housing, the project is finished, says the commander of the 5th Civil Engineer Squadron at Minot AFB.

“This is a huge milestone for the base,” said Lt. Col. Matthew Jefson, noting the end of renovations and new construction that’s gone on in the military family housing area.

Jefson told members of the Minot Area Chamber of Commerce’s Military Affairs Committee Thursday at Minot AFB that the final phase of the family housing project was completed this past calendar year 2011.

Since fiscal year 1992, Minot AFB has renovated 302 units, built 1,414 and left 30 units untouched, according to Civil Engineer Squadron information.

According to the article, the total cost of the project was $397.3 million paid out in contracts over 20 years. If we divide that figure by the 1,716 homes renovated/built over that time and the average expenditure per home is a whopping $231,526.

Now, that figure isn’t adjusted for inflation, but if I did go back and calculate the value of each contract in 2011 dollars that per-home figure would only be larger. For a frame of reference, keep in mind that $1 in 1992 is worth about $1.61 in 2011 dollars according to this calculator from the BLS.

Is anyone else left wondering how it is that it took 20 years to build/renovate 1,714 homes? And why in the world it cost nearly a quarter of a million dollars each, and probably more if we adjusted for inflation?

As a frame of reference, the Stonebridge Farms development in Minot (building in the same labor/materials/weather climate as the Minot Air Force Base) built, per their website, some 218 units in 2011 alone with another 100 lots expected to be developed in 2012. And I’m quite certain those folks are not spending a quarter of a million dollars per unit.

Yet, according to some, there’s no fat in the federal budget. We must raise taxes!

Rob Port

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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