Afternoon read: Planning, spending in Jefferson County

How much is Fort Drum bringing into the North Country’s economy? Photo: Doug Kerr CC some rights reserved

Happy Monday! Most of my posts lately which have been pretty much all sequester, all the time, and I’m happy to say the stories that caught my eye today, well, aren’t.

Interestingly, both of these stories (which take place in Jefferson County) are in areas that we’ve previously discussed as being affected by the sequester.

First, wondering who’s spending money in the North Country (I mean other than me, splurging on the red peppers at the supermarket)? The Watertown Daily Times reports today that Fort Drum was responsible for $1.4 billion dollars in economic impact for fiscal year 2012 (we’ve been talking a lot lately about how the sequester is likely to affect Fort Drum, so it’ll be interesting to see how 2013’s numbers look.) Here’s a PDF of that statement.

There are about 19,000 soldiers and 20,000 connected family members in the area, and Fort Drum-associated money is flowing to local school districts and construction firms, among others. Fort Drum is the largest employer in our region, according to the data it released today, with 19,024 soldiers and 4,544 civilian employees.

Fort Drum’s total economic impact for last year was actually more: $1.6 billion. Many more details in the story.

Also, Jefferson Community College (which I talked about last week as a place likely to lose some money as a result of sequestration cuts to military tuition assistance) is trying to figure out how to make expansion happen.

The Watertown Daily Times also says today that JCC, which has seen increases in enrollment over the last few years, is looking toward “new markets” to make sure it keeps growing. Obviously the usual “market” for college students is high school, but that market’s not growing. So JCC is looking elsewhere: adults, those interested in online courses, and recruiting students for “low-capacity” programs like fire protection technology and renewable energy management.

JCC is also adding residence halls, which have a record within the SUNY system of adding more students. The paper reports that the college “is poised to break ground on the new residence halls soon,” and they’re scheduled to open in Fall 2014.



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