WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, N.M., July 8, 2010 - Residents of White Sands Missile Range received updates about current housing policies and other changes on post at the housing town hall meeting held June 29 at the Frontier Club.

The biggest announcement of the evening was that the telephone service to all contractors and residents on post would be cut, following the installation of infrastructure to support commercial provider Qwest communications. Army regulation requires that commercial telephone providers be used where they are available, and until now WSMR has been too remote for a commercial provider to run transmission lines to the range. "Traditionally no phone service wanted to come to WSMR, Qwest has offered the service to anyone who wants it, and when we finally have the terms of service they will be one of our providers," said Lt. Col. Vincent Navarre, garrison deputy for Transformation.
Navarre expects Qwest to begin offering service by the end of July.

This change in service providers will mean that many of the telephone numbers on WSMR will be changing, including all home phones, contractors with offices on WSMR, and non-government organizations like the White Sands Schools.

While a change in the prefix is expected, in cases where the last four digits on a phone number are already assigned to an existing customer the entire number will need to change. Not only will phone numbers be changing, but the kind of service offered will also change. Calls made to El Paso and Alamogordo will now be a long distance calls. Qwest will also offer high speed internet service. Comcast will still be available on post offering cable television and internet service.

At this time Qwest representatives are not able to provide any information on pricing plans or package deals that will be available once service begins. "As far as price plans, they will change with our promotional plans," said Qwest Representative Jaime Limon.

Also announced at the meeting was the beginning of a free shuttle bus to Fort Bliss and William Beaumont Army Medical Center. The 24 passenger handicap accessible shuttle began making trips July 6, and makes three daily round trips to Beaumont and the Fort Bliss PX and commissary mall complex, and will also stop at the Soldiers Family Clinic by request. On WSMR the bus will make stops at the Balfour Beatty Community Center, McAfee Health Clinic, and the WSMR Community and Aquatics center. A valid military ID is required to ride the bus and children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult. While children 14 and up are not required to be accompanied by an adult, transportation staff will not be responsible for them, and while a passenger log will be kept, shuttle drivers are not required to make sure that all passengers that get dropped off at Fort Bliss get back to WSMR.

"We're not going to baby sit your kids, but we will give them a ride," said Sherri Corum from the WSMR Transportation Office. As a newly offered service, the specific rules and schedule may be subject to change as the service adapts to meet its customers demands. As the shuttle is expected to have room, at this time strollers and car seats are permitted and anyone going to the commissary is encouraged to bring a cooler to keep any frozen or refrigerated items cold on the return trip. At this time passengers will be permitted to leave bulky items like strollers, car seats, and coolers on the bus, but the transportation office will not be held responsible should they be lost, stolen or damaged.

Under the Live Army Green program residents living on post will have new utilities billings policies. Using data collected from the houses smart meters a baseline usage rate for electricity and gas has been established. Residents who exceed this baseline will now be required to pay for the increased usage. At this time there will be a small buffer zone above the baseline so residents that only exceed the baseline by a small amount will not be charged.

The contract for trash collection on WSMR is being rebid and will include recycling. At this time it's not known if the recycling will be a dumpster based service, or if individual cans will be provided. Housing with a garbage output that exceeds the amount that can be contained in the can is permitted to plan garbage bags next to their cans on pick up day. At this time Balfour Beatty regional managers are not permitting local community managers to permanently issue more than one garbage can per house. Residents that are expecting to have an unusually large amount of garbage can request an additional can for the week, but the can will be collected the following week.

Residents that have vehicles located in the RV park must have them registered with Balfour Beatty or risk them being towed. Thirty day notices have already been sent to the owners of any unregistered vehicles. Once towed the vehicle owner will be responsible for getting the vehicle out of impound.

Page last updated Mon July 12th, 2010 at 16:16