Congressman, Lt. Governor attend briefing at Tupelo Armory

TUPELO, Miss. (WCBI) – National Guard Armories across Northeast Mississippi will see upgrades and much needed repairs as part of a collaborative effort between the state and federal government.

The briefing at the Tupelo Armory allowed U S Congressman Trent Kelly and Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves to hear plans for repairs and maintenance at 11 readiness centers, which used to be called armories, across the state.

Each year, the National Guard gets $6 million from the federal government for facilities, but the Guard has restrictions on how the funds can be used.

“We can only put that money into 100% federal facilities, like Camp Shelby, Camp McCain, some armories that do a hundred percent federal work, we can spread that money out if we have a state match,” said Adj. Gen. Boyles.

General Boyles said Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves helped push for a $2 million bond package from the state during the 2019 legislative session.

That was combined with $3 million in federal funds to pay for much needed and long overdue improvements.

“The investments being made are being made in communities throughout Mississippi and the thing I noticed is they are being made in communities represented by Republicans, in communities represented by Democrats and that’s one of the great things about the Mississippi National Guard is they make their decisions based on what’s best for military installations,” said Lt. Gov. Reeves.

Armories in Amory and Tupelo will see renovations such as additions and alterations, and repairs and upgrades on air conditioning units to make them more energy efficient, and save money on utility costs.

$5 million covers a lot of projects at the readiness centers, but General Boyles wants lawmakers to consider annual funding, for upkeep and other maintenance projects.

“We think the responsible thing for the state of Mississippi to do is give us maintenance money every year to maintain our facilities, which we are not getting, the Lieutenant Governor mentioned that this morning, he wants us to come back in the spring and explain this all to the legislature so they will understand how their money is being spent,” Boyles said.

At the end of the briefing, General Boyles presented Reeves with the “Mississippi Distinguished Civilian Service Medal” for his support of the National Guard.

General Boyles says it has been 16 years since Mississippi National Guard armories have undergone extensive renovations, maintenance and repair.

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