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YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — Effects of budget cuts brought on by the war in Iraq are starting to become apparent on U.S. installations in South Korea, manifesting themselves in unsightly ways such as overflowing garbage bins, officials said Friday.

But during his quarterly radio town hall meeting, Area II commander Col. Timothy McNulty said the problems were being addressed and that improvements should soon appear.

“It’s no surprise or new information that we are an army at war,” he said during the town hall meeting, broadcast to U.S. servicemembers and civilians in the Seoul area.

“Reduced or tightened budgets have been going on since the beginning of the fiscal year. Until now, we have been able to keep the budget shortfalls transparent to the community.”

But no longer.

The most glaring problem is related to garbage removal on Yongsan Garrison, McNulty said. Because of contract problems, the base landfill has been filled to more than 110 percent of its capacity, he said, and there was no contract to remove the garbage to an off-base landfill.

“I couldn’t accept any more garbage,” McNulty said.

Now, though, with a little budget shuffling and cuts in other areas, the landfill is going to be emptied.

“It will probably be a week before we see the positive effects in the community,” McNulty said.

Callers to the show pointed out other problems related to the budget cuts. One spouse calling from K-16, an airbase south of Seoul, wondered why she and her husband would have to pay for their move from K-16 to Hannam Village, a housing area next to Yongsan.

“We’re not allowed to have a car, so what are we supposed to do? Hire a bunch of cabs to drive us and our things back and forth?” she asked.

Military funding for local moves has been another casualty of the budget crunch, McNulty said.

“Local moves are funded locally, and I have no funds for that,” he said. Another program that will suffer is the shuttle bus service; certain routes and operating hours will be reduced, officials said.

Base funding has been scrutinized at installations throughout the world, officials have said, sometimes coming in the form of increased fees for services or cuts in operating hours of certain facilities.


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