Economic boost

WESTOVER AIR RESERVE BASE, Mass. -- The 439th Airlift Wing added $212 million into the community in fiscal year 2017 -- an increase of more than $15 million from the previous fiscal year.

The wing impacted communities within a 50-mile radius with an economic impact of $212,534,218 from Oct. 1, 2016 to Sept. 30, 2017. In 2016, the base's economic impact was $197,257,006.

Previous years' economic impacts:

2015 - $221,175,721
2014 - $220,856,889
2013 - $224,946,752
2012 - $237,936,751
2011 - $237,568,913

Other highlights from the economic impact report:

-- Construction and related expenditures increased $12 million, due to facility project funding, according to Deborah Heady, Westover budget analyst.
-- The base saw a decrease of $1.6 million in payroll last year, due in part to a decrease in Air Force civilian employees working at the base, Heady said. Fewer military members were deployed in fiscal 2017 and the Air Force reduced some civilian manning numbers.
-- There was a $500,000 decrease in the estimated value of jobs created in fiscal 2017 primarily as a result of a decrease in civilian, military and non-appropriated fund salaries.
-- The total number of base employees - active duty, reserve, and civilians - decreased from 3,371 in 2016 to 3,284 in 2017.

"The $15 million increase speaks to Westover's continued economic influence in the Pioneer Valley," said Col. D. Scott Durham, 439th Airlift Wing commander. "Though military budgets have decreased in recent years, our base continues its relevance as a key strategic partner within the Department of Defense. Closer to home, this installation is a stable employer and economic engine in western Massachusetts."

The economic figures and personnel counts do not include the base's 28 tenant units, which include ten Army units, three Marine units, and a Military Entrance Processing Station, which together employ about 1,700 people, mainly reservists.