As fiscal 2013 gets underway, employees will soon feel the pressures of this year's tightened budget.
At NAS Patuxent River, two areas affected by DoD's budget constraints are the contracted transportation services and facilities services.
"Many of these services were funded entirely by Naval District Washington's Regional operations and maintenance budget," said Lt. Cmdr. Dustin Kwok, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Washington, Public Works Department Patuxent River. "After reviewing the numbers, NDW had to make a decision on what should and shouldn't be funded anymore."
According to Kwok, there are three transportation-related services directly affected: the Bethesda/Walter Reed shuttle, the driver's licensing program, and the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service, or DRMO, transfer station.
"Since these services were determined not to be Regional responsibilities, NDW decided to stop or reduce funding to these services to save costs," Kwok said.
Changes to the shuttle service include reducing the number of trips and destinations. As of Nov. 1, the shuttle will only travel to and from the installation and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport twice a day. It will no longer travel to the Navy Yard or the Bethesda/Walter Reed National Medical Center.
"This is a service we wish we could continue to provide but can no longer afford to," said Capt. Ted Mills, NAS Patuxent River commanding officer. "We will continue to take care of our active-duty service members. I know this affects family members and retirees negatively and I'm sorry for that. If we can offer this service again in the future, we'll make every effort to do so."
Regional funding changes will also affect the driver's licensing program here. As of Nov. 1, tenant activities requiring operator and licensing services will be required to pay for those services themselves.
The final transportation service to be affected by budget constraints is the DRMO transfer station currently operating aboard NAS Patuxent River. Kwok said people can expect to see DRMO operations reduced by half, either in terms of its operating hours or the number of people staffing it. When a determination is made on how its operations will be reduced, a notice will be posted in the Tester and in the Plan of the Week, he said.
In August, Commander, Navy Installations Command informed all Navy shore commands of reductions to common output levels, or COL, for facility services from 3 to 4, with a few exceptions.
Simply put, "Service levels are being reduced in order to save costs," Kwok said. "Given the current financial considerations, it's the responsible thing to do because the resourcing isn't there."
The two areas impacted that will catch most people's attention are the janitorial services and grounds maintenance.
While the actual start date for these reductions has yet to be determined due to contracts currently in place, Kwok said when they do take effect, employees can expect to see decreased cleaning, reduced removal of trash and recycling, and the condition of the grounds may appear to become "unsightly" as landscaping maintenance will be reduced.
"Although there will be reductions in services, there are currently no plans to transfer overall performance of any facilities services functions to military or civilian personnel," Kwok said. "However, on an individual basis, people will be responsible for basic housekeeping tasks in their workspaces such as taking their office trash/recycling to a central collection point where the contractor will pick it up and for cleaning break rooms."
In accordance with regulations and policies, some facilities, such as the child care center, are exempt from these services reductions because of the nature of their function. Kwok said commands can submit a formal waiver request for services above COL 4, but they will be responsible for fully funding the additional requirements.
For more information on waiver requests, call the Public Works department at 301-757-4829.