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JB Charleston leaders answer Town Hall questions

| Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs | April 29, 2019

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. —

Joint Base Charleston hosted four town halls from March 26-28 and four additional town halls April 26-27 to inform service members and residents about changes affecting the installation as well as to create a forum to ask questions and give feedback directly to base leadership.

The JB Charleston town halls were held both on the Air Base and Naval Weapons Station and base members could participate on Facebook Live.

“My number one priority is the safety and well-being of all of our service members and their families,” said Col. Terrence Adams, commander of JB Charleston. “Holding these town halls are vital in letting our community know that we’re here to listen and take care of our service members, DOD civilians and families.”

Below are some of the answers and questions from the eight town halls:

Mission Support Group

  1. What base renovations are planned for the next 5 years? Youth center? Housing? Parks?

The 628th Civil Engineer Squadron is planning and programming a robust 5-year plan to sustain, repair, restore and modernize JB Charleston’s facilities and infrastructure. Near-term projects include repairs and enhancements to the Air Base CDC, Weapons Station Youth Center and FamCamps.

  1. Any plans to make playground areas on the NWS just as nice as the playground areas on the AB?

Balfour Beatty and Hunt respond to the desires of residents, as indicated by resident surveys, on both sides of the base. Balfour Beatty is starting their next round of resident surveys next month, so if playgrounds are a primary interest area for you and your family, please leverage the survey to make your voice heard.

  1. What is the proposed end date for the streetlights and running path lights that are out on main base to be fixed? 

Survey of street and jogging trail light outages are accomplished monthly and repaired when parts and manpower are available. Areas with multiple outages causing possible safety concerns are addressed immediately.

  1. Can a right turn lane be added to the Fletcher/Redbank intersection to mitigate traffic during peak hours with Marrington schools?

The situation has been identified and validated. An extended turn lane was installed last year and will be extended further by June 30.

  1. There are many uneven sidewalks and sink holes around drainage issues in MenRiv and eastside housing areas that are safety concerns. Any plans for repair?

Surveys of sidewalks and sink holes are accomplished monthly and repaired when parts and manpower are available. Areas with safety concerns are addressed immediately.

  1. In the last year, there have been many natural disasters. Is there a new building plan in place for old buildings or new infrastructure, such as the streets? Many streets need repair on base here in Goose Creek.

The Civil Engineer Squadron is planning and programming a robust 5-year plan to sustain, repair, restore and modernize JB Charleston’s facilities and infrastructure. We are planning to invest up to $1 million in road pavements over the course of the next year.

  1. Not sure if been asked, but why were the gates closed for several hours the other day? (SFS)

Without knowing the exact date you’re inquiring about, we are unable to fully answer the question. However, our gates can be closed for a variety of reasons to include security incidents, barrier maintenance, facility maintenance, random antiterrorism measures and a host of other reasons. The length of time is typically determined by the incident or time required for our personnel to clear that incident and secure the area or for workers to finish maintenance. For most security-related issues, those incidents are law enforcement sensitive and are often not released to the public unless requested through official channels.

  1. Will military members on PCS orders be given priority at FamCamp? (FSS)

Unfortunately, no - military members on PCS orders will not be given priority at JB Charleston FamCamps. Air Force FamCamps are recreational areas and as such are unable to provide priorities for military members on orders. Traditionally, AF FamCamps are not open to members PCSing or going on TDY. JB Charleston has been able to coordinate with the Air Force Services Activity to secure approval for non-recreational use of the JB Charleston facilities on a space-available basis for individuals either PCSing or TDY to JB Charleston. Usage is limited to no more than 10% of the total camping spaces, for no more than a 30 day period. JB Charleston has three FamCamps and with some advance planning, PCSing or TDY personnel should be able to secure space in one of the JB Charleston FamCamps.

  1. Are there any plans to renovate the Youth Center on the air base? (FSS)

Thank you for your interest in the Air Base Youth Programs. At this time, there are no plans to renovate the Air Base Youth Center/Programs, however, the School Age Program is working with the Air Force Services Activity to try and secure funding for new playground equipment and improved fall zones. We currently don’t have a projected timeframe on when these improvements would take if they are funded, but will keep the community informed if any progress is made.

  1. Has there been a recent study to see how many base children attend the zoned middle and high school? Specifically, the reason why they don’t attended those schools and how (if) the base could influence the town or assist these schools to make them more appealing to the base community.

Since 2011, JB Charleston AB has approximately 225-250 resident school-age children, depending on the time of year/transfer cycle. Local school populations are tracked regularly by the School Liaison Office. Populations in the assigned AB schools fluctuate slightly during the year and there has been a slight dip in elementary age children this year. Here are the general baselines for the past 8 years:

Lambs 130-150, Hunley Park 40, Zucker 15-20, Stall 15-20, Marrington Elementary 510, Marrington Middle School 151, Goose Creek High School 33. Our on-base school age population is fairly steady at approximately 200 elementary, 35-40 middle, and 35-40 high school-age children. Service members actively volunteer for school events, supporting career days, testing and mentoring. Parent engagement—critical to building support for military families in the school—seems to have dropped the past two years.

On base, Charleston County School District (CCSD) transports students to Academic Magnet, School of the Arts, Military Magnet, Garrett Academy, Stall and Zucker. This year, 8-10 children started attending the Charleston Creative Arts ES and parents transport children to several other choice school options. A few of these include West Ashely High School, Ashley River Creative Arts, Moultrie MS, Orange Grove, St. Andrews School of Math & Science.

Military families can exercise a range of choice options in Charleston County within one year of arrival at JB Charleston and can participate in the annual lottery process. There are a number of schools that perform very well. We have a dedicated POC for those requests. Families can also request transfers twice per year, in March and June. Choices exist, and to many well-rated schools, but transportation is the parents’ responsibility.

Leadership is continually advocating for more options for military families. Thirteen schools in Charleston County were visited this year by Leadership, and the 628 Air Base Wing Commander advocates for military families at all levels of local and state government. Expanded options for military families, and individualized assistance when needed, are a result of this advocacy.

Charleston County has targeted the North Area as part of a “Mission Critical” Initiative. You can add your voice to the conversation by contacting the district and joining the local conversation. District 4, North Charleston, has their next meeting scheduled for 7 May 7, from 6-7:45 p.m., at North Charleston High School.

  1. Is there any plan to change policies on utility closet access in base housing?

Unfortunately there is not, due to the fact that this would pose a safety issue. Residents tend to use this area for storage, which facilitates a hazard. That said, the Housing Management Office is working with the privatization owners to be more transparent about how, when and why they enter the utility closets to ensure residents are aware of the preventative maintenance work being done to support the health and safety of their home.

  1. How long should someone wait after Hunt notifies that work has not been completed to escalate to the next person in the change of command?

You can contact your chain of command at any given time. However, it is preferred for members to wait 1-2 business days to allow Hunt to come back and complete additional work as required. You can always contact Hunt with your work order number to ask for a status check. If there are parts pending, you should allow 1-2 weeks. If, after that time, your work issue has not been resolved, contact the Hunt Help Line at 915-533-1122, or contact the government’s Housing Management Office so that they can engage Hunt leadership. If your work is still not being completed, please involve your chain of command. Please refer to the “three-step” handout (attached) for number of days for resolving work orders.

  1. In regards to Air Base housing: Paperwork distributed by Hunt makes reference that filters need to be changed on a regular basis to control and prevent mold spores. Yet in the past month, many residents have found their filters haven’t been changed in what appears to be over 4-6 months. What will be done going forward to prevent this from happening again? 

Hunt Housing policy is to change filters quarterly. Residents should receive a call to inform them about preventative maintenance work orders, and you will receive an email once the work is completed. Please make sure we have good email addresses on file for your home!

  1. With evidence of a maintenance technician not doing adequate work, will tenants be allowed unrestricted access to the past maintenance files on their residences to assure all work has been completed and completed accurately? How does a resident acquire those records?

If the resident feels the work was not adequate, please contact the Community Manager (Balfour Beatty/NWS) at 843-797-5631 or the Community Director (Hunt/AB) at 843-552-0600. Completing the survey assists management in knowing the residents’ satisfaction or concerns. Work orders and past maintenance files are not supplied to residents, but the resident is given a work order number. The quality assurance process is how Hunt ensures work is accurate. The 628th Civil Engineer Squadron Housing Management Office and resident are involved in that process as long as they complete the maintenance survey, which gives the project owner feedback.

  1. If a maintenance technician is asked for help with an additional issue not on the current work order, but, the technician can’t do the additional work at that time, can the technician open a work order to schedule the work for a future time?

It is Hunt’s practice to ask if there is anything else needed, and if so, that work order can be entered via the maintenance technician’s smart phone or they can call the dispatcher for the resident and get a work order entered and supply the number in either scenario. Hunt wants this information to maintain the home and ensure you are comfortable, healthy, and safe.

  1. How often does Hunt ride around to check the outside of their homes for damages? Specifically, siding that is missing, unsnapped, and/or falling off the residences?

Weekly. However, they may not be able to walk all yards; therefore, if a resident sees an issue with their home, please call the issue into the Maintenance Dept (Hunt/AB: 843-552-3358 / Balfour Beatty/NWS: 843-797-3858). If you see something, please say something so we can keep the home in great condition.

  1. Many of the retirees across the nation that live in base housing have voiced concerns they will be retaliated against for placing work orders over damages found in their homes. Could JB Charleston’s Hunt put into writing that for the next two years, rent will not be raised for those veterans living in base housing that file a complaint? Or some other practice with the same outcome?

It is Hunt’s practice to be transparent and communicate with residents with regard to move-out charges. It is in the handbook and given to the resident in the lease-signing process. Hunt compares the move-in inspection report with the condition of the home at move-out to help assess applicable charges, if any. Hunt abides by Fair Housing Rules and Regulations. Conversations with residents or complaints from residents are never considered a part of any rent increase. Rent increases are based on a market study, much like the government side compiles for the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) studies each year; one has nothing to do with the other. Hunt does not retaliate against any resident and relies on their calls to alert them of any needed repairs.

  1. Please make sure residents understand the policies for dogs on leashes and cleaning up after themselves. My neighbors let their dogs poop all around our playground and don't pick it up. (FSS)

Rules and policies are distributed in the new resident handbook and briefed by Balfour Beatty, Hunt and the Housing Management Office. Additionally, in the past year, Hunt has installed pet waste removal stations with trash bags conveniently located around the community and Balfour Beatty Communities has upgraded 26 pet stations throughout the neighborhoods. Residents are encouraged to report violators to the Property Owner (BB Community Manager: 843-797-5631 / Hunt Community Director: 843-552-0600).

  1. On the dining topic, is there any consideration of evening or weekend hours for dining behind the gate on the Weapons Station? Could the golf course grill or Red Bank Club pilot one night a week? (FSS)

While we understand there is always a desire to have an evening dining venue conveniently located, the demand for this market is not sufficient to provide enough business to meet the operation costs associated with opening either establishment for evening dining. The Fairway Grill at Redbank Plantation Golf Course offers dining 7 a.m.- 1 p.m. daily. Likewise, The Dive has reopened and is available for evening dining starting at 5 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday.

  1. What’s going to replace Burger King on the air base?

The contract for the next food vendor is in the bidding process. We are unable to announce the new vendor until after the contract is awarded.

  1. When will Uber be allowed on base?

Uber/Lyft drivers aren’t allowed on base unless they hold a Military ID or are sponsored onto the installation. In order to complete this, drivers should follow the process below.

1 – Come to the VCC and obtain needed documentation

2 – Submit all required paperwork

3 – Receive approved badge if person passes vetting

Paperwork needed varies, depending on what the person is doing but the basics are: Valid DL – not marked “Not for federal." Valid Insurance, Valid Tags/Registration, SSAN Card, Taxi/Limo License (taxi/limo only), Taxi – photo of taxi with permanent signs attached, Ride Share – photo of car with Uber or Lyft symbol in the windshield of car and safety inspection cert – required by South Carolina law, Taxi/Limo/Ride Share – Certified by DMV 10 year driving history.

Once the Visitor Control Center has all the needed documents and the driver passes the vetting process they’ll be issued a DBIDS card for access on base.

  1. Could shopping cart returns be added at the Commissary?

We’ve been working with the Commissary, who has notionally agreed to place four new cart corrals similar to those found on the AAFES Exchange side. The Commissary is currently working on timing and procurement of those cart corrals.

 

Medical Group

  1. Is there a way to make acute medical appointments the night before?

The 628 MDG Appointment Line is open 6:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, with the exception of the third Wednesday of every month and Federal Holidays, and can be reached by calling 843-963-6880. Outside of these hours, patients have two options for scheduling appointments.

A. Tricare Online: Patients can schedule appointments, including acute appointments, 24/7 thru www.tricareonline.com. If the patient has a CAC, he/she can logon using the CAC enabled option. Otherwise, he/she needs to create a username and password. After logging on, the patient selects “Appointments.” The resulting screen allows the patient to search for specific appointment types, dates and times. Additionally, the patient can opt-in to receive a text message and/or email reminder for each appointment.

B. Nurse Advice Line (NAL): Patients can also call the NAL 24/7 at 800-874-2272 to receive medical advice. Of note, if a patient calls the 628 MDG Appointment Line after hours, one of the automated options is to be transferred to the NAL. The nurse at the NAL will ask the patient various questions to assess his/her needs. Based on the assessment, the patient will be provided home care advice, booked an appointment in the 628 MDG clinic w/in 24 hours, advised to go to urgent care, or advised to go to the emergency room (ER).

  1. If someone is to develop an illness, possibly from their home, what would the proper steps be to get tested? What testing would the individual request from their Primary Care Manager (PCM)?

A. You should see your PCM for evaluation, and specifically describe your symptoms; it is very helpful if you can note when the symptoms are the worst (first thing in the morning, after work, during the night, etc.) and any other symptoms or exposures.

B. The PCM may order blood tests to find out if there is infection or an immune response. If there is concern for an allergic response, the PCM may order allergy testing, which is usually done by a specialist physician.

C. If there is an area of the house you are concerned about (i.e. mold), and believe is contributing to or causing the illness, you can engage with the military housing office to ensure there is not an underlying leak or insulation issue which is causing excessive moisture. If air quality testing is needed, the military housing office will contact the appropriate personnel for testing. If you believe you are affected by mold or other substances, the source of the potential effect should be removed. The area can be cleaned - however, if you would like to have the mold evaluated, you can remove any portable parts (such as vents or screens), and secure away from the affected individual(s). There are third-party testing agencies which can test for a range of molds and allergens.

  1. With other bases in the news having water contamination, has JB Charleston had their water tested recently? If no, can this please be scheduled? If yes, where can the results be found?

JB Charleston's water is supplied by the Charleston Water System. The Air Force tests every water line on the base at least monthly, or when there is water pressure loss or water line maintenance. For water potability (safe to drink), Charleston Water System publishes the results of its testing monthly, to include lead levels, fluoridation and various minerals present in our drinking water. The report can be found at: https://www.charlestonwater.com/156/Water-Quality

 

Wing Staff Agency

  1. Is it possible to narrow down the times for giant voice testing?

JB Charleston’s current schedule is for a mandatory weekly test at 1 p.m. on Fridays for both the Air Base and the Naval Weapons Station. Maintenance could be required on the system outside of those hours. If it is required, the times will be coordinated through the 628 ABW commander and those tests will then count for the weekly test. The Command Post is the organization that has primary responsibility for this testing requirement.

  1. Is traffic supposed to stop for the morning music? Does this apply to base housing or just the working areas?

Yes. If in a vehicle during Reveille or Retreat, you should pull the car to the side of the road and stop. All occupants should sit quietly until the last note of “To the Color” or the national anthem is played (or the flag is fully raised or lowered). (Reference: AFI 34-1201, Paragraph 8.1.5.2). This applies to all areas of a military installation.

 


We want to hear from you! If you have any comments, concerns or questions about base facilities, resources etc. send it to us via our JB Charleston Virtual Thought Box at https://forms.gle/enYGb6mzpVKsHqhn7

You can submit thoughts/suggestions anonymously or provide you contact info to help resolve issues.

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