GRAFENWÖHR, Germany — The Installation Management Agency will not release information about last month’s garrison commanders’ meeting on cost-cutting measures for Army bases in Europe, saying the budget figures discussed were preliminary.

“Those numbers could probably change in the next few weeks,” IMA-Europe spokesman Jeff Young said.

Young said a clearer picture would be available in September when the Department of Defense and the Department of the Army have more information about funding for the 2007 fiscal year.

Army installations in Europe have been cutting services in recent weeks due to a budget crunch caused by the cost of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

While Grafenwöhr Garrison officials have made some changes around base, public affairs officials would not answer budget questions last week, including queries about the size of the garrison’s budget, how much money needed to be saved and what measures were being taken to do so.

Grafenwöhr officials announced last month that vehicle access to the base after 9 p.m. will be restricted to one out of five gates from August on — a measure they say is focused on both cost-cutting and force protection.

Base workers at Grafenwöhr are also facing longer waits to get on post during the day, with fewer guards checking ID cards at vehicle entry points.

Another cost-cutting measure at the garrison was outlined by Grafenwöhr Directorate of Public Works director Dwane Watsek at a town hall meeting at Vilseck last month.

Watsek said budget cutbacks meant a contract for grass cutting around on-post housing areas will end Sept. 15. Contracts for cutting grass elsewhere on-post have already been canceled, and DPW staff are now doing it, he said.

“After that (Sept. 15), residents are expected to cut their own grass. Lawn mowers will be provided from the self-help store,” he said.

Grafenwöhr public affairs officer Susanne Bartsch said the garrison will delay opening a new $7 million dining facility on Main Post, which will be completed this month and was scheduled to open this summer.

Bartsch said the decision was not due to the budget crunch, but rather the garrison is waiting until there are enough soldiers living at Grafenwöhr to open it.

Grafenwöhr soldiers and base workers currently eat at the 7th Army Non Commissioned Officer Academy Dining Facility.

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Seth Robson is a Tokyo-based reporter who has been with Stars and Stripes since 2003. He has been stationed in Japan, South Korea and Germany, with frequent assignments to Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, Australia and the Philippines.

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