Naples housing tops town hall agenda
NAPLES, Italy — Starting on Monday, all military personnel who receive orders to Naples will be placed in government housing if units are available.
The new policy, announced last month, was the main topic of discussion at Thursday night’s town hall meeting on the support site in Gricignano.
"Since I got here, we’ve been working to increase occupancy on the support site," said Capt. Robert Rabuse, the NSA Naples commander, who took over in June. "I pay a lease on all of the houses here, whether they’re empty or full. ... Every unoccupied house costs us money, and it costs us money for folks to live out in town."
While occupancy rates on the support site have increased over the past six months, there are currently 76 two-bedroom units and 60 three-bedroom units that are vacant. The overall occupancy rate is at about 87 percent, Rabuse said.
With the mandatory assignment policy now in effect, the command is considering lifting the ban on dogs in family housing on the support site. Some think it’s a bad idea and voiced their concerns.
"We can hear the neighbors as it is," said support site resident Joanne Burch. "As much as I love dogs and would love for my kids to have a dog, it’s just not conducive here in Naples, not in the apartment buildings. There’s nowhere for them to run, nowhere to walk. It’s going to take one dog off a leash to bite a child and everybody’s going to be up in arms."
Another issue raised at the meeting was the dwindling supply of free bottled water the command now provides to off-base residents. The current supply is expected to last until the end of April. When it runs out, no more will be purchased.
Rabuse urged those living on the economy to renegotiate their lease to ensure landlords provide bottled water.
Last year, the discovery of contaminated water in several off-base homes prompted the command to advise off-base residents to use bottled water for drinking, cooking and brushing teeth.
The issue of budget cuts affecting base services such as the shuttle bus also came up.
A new bus schedule with fewer trips between bases went into effect at the beginning of March, and further service reductions may be made.
"We’ll continue to take small cuts where we can, and some of them may not be so small," Rabuse said. "But I’m trying to not make entire programs go away."
Around 200 people attended the meeting, which lasted about 90 minutes.