FORT STEWART, Ga. - As we continue our budget series this week, I want to shift to Sub Activity Group 132 - construction funding. This funding, SAG 132, is provided to Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield for sustainment, restoration, and modernization of real property. If it's connected to a building, buried in the ground or anchored to the earth, it is generally considered a SAG 132 cost.

For example, if I replace a door, a floor tile, roof shingles, or a light fixture, those are 132 costs because they are part of a building. If I replace a table and chairs, that is a 131 Base Operations cost because they are not anchored to anything and they can move from room to room or building to building without hurting the building or the room.

If I pave a road, construct a billboard or erect a tower, those are 132 costs because they are anchored to the earth. If I replace a battery operated wall clock, that is a 131 BASOPS cost because it hangs on a nail, but is not considered part of the building. If I replace a fire alarm panel, sprinkler pipe or a bathroom sink, those are 132 costs because they are considered part of the building.

It may seem confusing, but the experts at Directorate of Public Works have the training, knowledge, responsibility, and authority to determine "Work Classification." This is important because the garrison cannot spend 131 funding on a 132 project and visa versa. We are given specific pots of money to do specific things, and it's my job as the resource manager, with help from DPW to ensure those pots are not commingled.

Within our three branches of federal government, Executive, Legislative and Judicial, it is the Legislative Branch or Congress that holds the purse strings. Congress wrote in the law that the Garrison cannot spend over $750,000 on any new work associated with a single project with SAG 132 funds. In other words, if I build a new building, a new road, a new tower, or a new wing on a building, I cannot exceed $750,000 on each project. New buildings, roads, and towers that cost over $750,000 are paid for with Military Construction Army funds. MCA funds do not flow through the garrison. Each project over $750,000 is individually approved by Congress and the money flows to the Savannah Corps of Engineers to award a contract for construction.

What about repair or renovation of an existing building' The law says the garrison can spend up to $5 million of SAG 132 funds on the renovation of an existing building. Anything over $5 million must go to Congress for their approval or disapproval. The $41 million of 132 funding that the garrison received this year overwhelmingly went to the repair and maintenance of over 18 million square feet of existing real property. A small percentage went to new work. Almost all of the new buildings you see popping up on the installation came from MCA dollars, funded and managed by the Corps of Engineers.

Next week's article will be written by Fort Stewart's Directorate of Public Works on the specifics of MCA funding.