Rep. Sam Farr suggests in a letter to the Department of Defense that it erred on the formula for deciding military housing allowances.
"The financial hardship incurred by this false reduction ... is quite substantial," he wrote in the letter sent Tuesday.
Monterey County's average housing allowance will fall 7.5 percent this year — the biggest decline in the country.
The change would only affect new military members who come to the county, not those already stationed here.
Farr, D-Carmel, asked Under Secretary of Defense Jessica Wright to revisit the department's calculations and, ultimately, reverse its original decision.
He said the change might have been a simple mistake.
"I believe the reduction is based on a low-activity anomaly during what has been a consistently high-activity period for the market," he wrote.
The DOD said its rates are determined by median current market rent, average utilities and average renter's insurance.
But Farr said the data were collected during spring and summer months last year when "there was an unprecedented dip in the average rental market values for the area."
He said data showed rental prices jumped back up to normal levels shortly after the department finished its study.
The county's real estate groups and housing associations quickly condemned the designation two weeks ago as incorrect.
They also said the reduced pay would severely impact the market.
Some officers, especially
Kevin Stone, spokesman for the Monterey County Association of Realtors, said he was grateful and encouraged by Farr's letter.
"I think if (the DOD) looks at some of the unique circumstances involved in our housing market — and, specifically, rental market — then they will have a much better understanding how that adjustment in this county wasn't really applicable," he said.
He said an example is vast differences in costs on the Peninsula compared to inland.
Efforts to reach the DOD were unsuccessful.
The department said in a news release last month that it will spend $20 billion in housing for about 1 million service members this year at more than 350 military housing areas.
Phillip Molnar can be reached at 646-4487 or firstname.lastname@example.org.