By CATRINA FRANCIS
Gold Standard Senior Staff Writer
In the past few years Fort Knox has undergone many changes. Another change began Jan. 1 when the Army decreased the basic allowance for housing for Soldiers who have a permanent change of station after that date.
J.R. Cardin, the Fort Knox housing chief, said Soldiers who were stationed on the post before Jan. 1 are grandfathered into their current rate.
“The rates change for everybody if it goes up,” he explained. We had a 2.8 percent decrease average overall for our BAH rates.”
Cardin said the reason for the decrease was based on research done by Linda Whitfield, the RCI administrative assistant, who begins gathering rental rates in mid-March of each year. He pointed out that she can only look at rental rates in certain areas such as Hardin, parts of Breckinridge, most of Meade and parts of LaRue counties.
“She makes sure when she gathers (rental rates) it includes utilities;” said Cardin, “she gathers those to make sure they meet a certain standards. We don’t want to submit (rates) for homes that are falling down. (She also looks for) a garage or off-street parking (and) air conditioning. We submit two-bedroom, three-bedroom and four-bedroom houses.”
“(I) look at floor space and it must be comparable to on-(post) housing,” said Whitfield.
Cardin said this past June, Whitfield found more than 500 properties that were suitable for rent.
“That’s probably twice more than we ever submitted before,” Cardin said. “That tells you there is (abundance) of homes to rent off post. When there is (excess) homes for rent rates go down.
“Rents went down about $50-$75 per rental. We anticipated (a decrease in rates). We don’t like it, but it was based on what Linda found last spring.”
Cardin also pointed out that once the information is gathered and sent to the Department of the Army, DA calls to make sure the homes were available for rent.
He also said the number of available rentals will increase when the 3rd Brigade,
1st Infantry Division deactivates and Soldiers begin moving to other installations. Cardin said the breakdown of 3-1 Soldiers who live on and off post and barracks is almost equal, which will increase the number of off-post rentals.
Once 3-1 Soldiers leave there will be about, “Seven to 800 (off post) vacant homes,” explained Cardin.