Keesler AFB's billion dollar impact on South Mississippi - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Keesler AFB's billion dollar impact on South Mississippi

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

By Jessica Bowman – email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - "Huge" is the word Biloxi Mayor A.J. Holloway used to describe Keesler Air Force Base's economic impact on the City of Biloxi.

The base announced Thursday that its total economic impact in South Mississippi for Fiscal Year 2009 was more than $1.1 billion. That number includes everything from employee payroll, construction, purchases, and military retiree pay, to the value of volunteer services and jobs indirectly created.

Kim Taylor owns Kim's Alterations and Dry Cleaning. She credits much of her business to the men and women of Keesler Air Force Base.

"Ninety percent Keesler people," Taylor said.

Her clothing racks are lined with blue and camouflage uniforms. As one uniform leaves, another quickly takes its place.

"I open this job 17 years busy, all from Keesler people," Taylor said.

She isn't the only one who believes the $1.1 billion impact is significant for the Gulf Coast.

"You have retail, medical, quality of life. Keesler has all those things that make up a good community. So we're very, very happy and proud that Keesler is in the City of Biloxi," Mayor A.J. Holloway said.

The total economic impact includes the value of volunteer services, which itself totals more than $840,000.

"We understand the importance of building strong community relationships in achieving our mission." General Dickinson said. "The Mississippi Gulf Coast is a great place to be and the men and women of Keesler Air Force Base are proud to be part of this community."

Military personnel pay was more than $162 million and the payroll for civilian jobs totaled more than $194 million.

"Keesler is a huge economic impact for the City of Biloxi, and it comes with so many things," Mayor A.J. Holloway said. "The people that live off the base, the retirees. Keesler is the best assignment in the Air Force, just look at all the retirees we have here that came back to Biloxi to live."

Keesler is currently responsible for the employment of more than 14,000 people. Only half of them are military personnel. The rest is money that goes to civilians throughout South Mississippi.

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