RESOLUTION
A Resolution of the Mayor and Council of Columbus, Georgia; requesting support of the Georgia delegation to the United States Congress to work with the Department of the Army Leadership to request of prohibition of use of PAL Facilities by the general public and to prohibit the mandatory use of Pal Facilities as government-provided lodging for soldiers who travel where per diem is centrally-funded; and for other purposes.

WHEREAS, in 2002, the Department of the Army implemented the Privatized Army Lodging (PAL) program as an extension of the Military Housing Privatization Initiative and moved forward in 2004 to privatize lodging facilities due to poor facility conditions and the high cost to renovate them Army-wide;

WHEREAS, in October 2005, the Department of the Army selected Actus Lend Lease, an Australia-based developer of property and infrastructure, as the private developer for the PAL program and retained ownership of the land but conveyed ownership of the buildings to the developer via a 50-year lease;

WHEREAS, the Department of the Army selected the Intercontinental Hotel Group (IHG), a United Kingdom-based operator of hotels world-wide, as the operator and manager of PAL properties under the Department’s Lodging Development and Management Plan who will build new lodging facilities on Army installations, to include Fort Benning, to meet the standards of IHG extended stay brands such as Candlewood Suites and Staybridge Suites, and renovate some existing facilities to meet the standards for the Holiday Inn Express brand;

WHEREAS, the General Accountability Office (GAO) reported to Congress in 2006 that the PAL program faced a challenge since once privatized, a PAL facility is no longer considered government lodging and therefore official travelers will no longer be required to stay in PAL facilities;

WHEREAS, in 2010 the GAO advised that the Department of the Army reported to Congress that the 2008 economic downturn negatively affected Actus Lend Lease’s ability to obtain long-term, low-rate financing for the PAL project thus causing the GAO to opine that the need for proven occupancy at PAL facilities negatively affected Actus Lend Lease’s ability to obtain financing for the project and the credit agencies rating of the PAL program as “below investment grade;”

WHEREAS, in 2010, the GAO further reported to Congress that the basic premise of the PAL concept as outlined in 2005 that the ability of authorized travelers to select the hotel of their choice as an overriding risk factor and that only after receiving information that authorized travelers would still come to PAL facilities would the credit rating agencies consider changing the risk profile and granting better investment grade ratings;

WHEREAS, as late as mid-2012, both Actus Lend Lease and the Department of the Army officials were stating to the press that no requirement existed for individual soldiers on temporary assignment to stay in PAL facilities in spite of requirements to the contrary imposed by the Army Institutional Training Lodging and Directed Meals program that is enabled by an “in-license” agreement between the Department of the Army and Actus Lend Lease to maintain lodging on installations as government-provided lodging for soldiers;

WHEREAS, The Columbus Council recognizes the financial challenges facing the Department of the Army in light of severe budget cuts and continuing sequestration and the benefits to the Department of divesting itself of non-core functions such as hotel management;

WHEREAS, The Columbus Council also recognizes that the addition of over 820 more hotel rooms in a hotel constructed as a private enterprise enjoying tax and fee exemptions not available to hotels in the Columbus area and, with those rooms available to the general public at a discount, create a profound economic disadvantage.

NOW, THEREFORE, THE COUNCIL OF COLUMBUS, GEORGIA HEREBY RESOLVES:

The Columbus Council hereby reaffirms its support for soldiers, their families, and civilian employees of the Department of Defense and its continued recognition of the value of Fort Benning to our economy and national defense.

Further, in keeping with the original purpose of an Army lodging facility, the Columbus Council hereby requests the support of the Georgia delegation to the United States Congress to work with the Department of the Army leadership to request the following:

(1) That the use of PAL facilities be restricted to those visitors with military ID;

(2) That the PAL facility be an independent hotel as opposed to a recognized name brand or branded hotel and that such facility not be otherwise marketed to unofficial visitors; and

(3) That the Army refrain from imposing mandatory per diem reductions on any local private lodging facilities which accomodate official visitors who overflow the PAL facility capacity.

Further, that the Clerk of Council is hereby directed to send a copy of this Resolution to each member of the Georgia delegation to the United States Congress.
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Introduced at a regular meeting of the Council of Columbus, Georgia held on the 25th day of February, 2014, and adopted at said meeting by the affirmative vote of ______ members of Council.


Councilor Allen voting____________.
Councilor Baker voting____________.
Councilor Barnes voting___________.
Councilor Davis voting____________.
Councilor Henderson voting________.
Councilor Huff voting_____________.
Councilor McDaniel voting_________.
Councilor Pugh voting_____________.
Councilor Thomas voting___________.
Councilor Woodson voting__________.



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TINY B. WASHINGTON TERESA PIKE TOMLINSON
CLERK MAYOR