Friday is the deadline for the President and Congress to act before automatic budget cuts kick in that could have an impact in our area.
At this point, there’s no way of knowing exactly what the cuts will mean to Central Pennsylvania. And because of that, it’s hard to prepare.
With fiscal cliffs, debt ceilings, revenue shortfalls and now the sequester, the federal government appears to be in a constant state of crisis. And if this most recent crisis, the sequester, is not solved by Friday, $85 billion in automatic spending cuts will take affect.
“Here on a local level of government we can’t borrow money to cover our budgets,” commented Lancaster County Commissioner Scott Martin. “To hear this wailing over a 2.3 percent reduction in spending isn’t right. They face reality like the rest of us.”
No one knows what that reality will be, but some cuts may hit the Lancaster County Workforce Investment Board.
“This was part of the pre-planning we were trying to do.” explained County Workforce Investment Board’s Scott Sheely. “We figured if it’s five percent across the board we better hold back five percent. We were planning for the worst and hoping for the best.”
There have been reports the Lancaster County Airport could lose its Air Traffic Control Tower. Also, the SAFER grant given to the Lancaster Bureau of Fire could be in jeopardy.
“It’s been a big help,” commented Lancaster Bureau of Fire Chief Tim Gregg.
Last year, the department received nearly $900,000 in SAFER grants. More would be very helpful.
“I don’t know what the impact of the sequester would be on FEMA or the grant stream but let’s hope we’re still eligible for these grants,” continued Chief Gregg.
What we do know is that most politicians do believe the cuts will happen.