How government shutdown affects Brevard

Published On: Oct 02 2013 09:02:11 AM EDT
BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. -

After congress was unable to pass a budget Monday, the federal government's fiscal year ended at midnight.

Local 6 news partner Florida Today reports on how the government shutdown affects Brevard County

“Non-essential” federal employees would be furloughed. As of March, the most recent data available, Brevard County was home to 6,197 civilian federal employees, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.

These workers generate total quarterly wages of nearly $120 million, the agency reported.

Friday, the Department of Defense reported that about half of its civilian workforce will be furloughed if a shutdown occurs.

“It is distressing for our civilian teammates to suffer furlough again, and this affects the entire team,” said Brig. Gen. Nina Armagno, commander of the 45th Space Wing.

“The lack of a budget or continuing resolution will force another furlough, will create serious uncertainty, and will have severe and disruptive financial effect on an already stressed workforce of thousands of civilian airmen,” Armagno said.

While military personnel will not be subject to furlough, she said they will not receive pay for work performed after today until a Congressional appropriation or continuing resolution is passed.

“This could create financial hardships for our military personnel as well,” Armagno said.

Social Security operates field offices in Melbourne and Sharpes. The good news: Beneficiaries would continue to receive payments with no change in payment dates, the agency reported.

However, because of the shutdown, field office personnel would not issue new or replacement Social Security cards, replace Medicare cards, or issue proof of income letters.

Online services would remain open at socialsecurity.gov.

U.S. Postal Service mail delivery would not be affected by the shutdown. The agency operates 28 traditional post offices in Brevard, along with numerous “contract locations” inside commercial businesses.

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge public boat ramps, trails, Black Point Wildlife Drive and most other public roads would close, as well the visitor center.

Main NASA roads along the refuge would remain open, but not other public roads in the refuge. “Any public use facility will be shut down,” said Layne Hamilton, refuge manager.

“Right now we’re just doing a contingency plan,” Hamilton said. “We’re still figuring out what staff will be needed … We would like to keep our fire staff on.”

A shutdown would leave in limbo some of the 30 employees at the refuge and the Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge in Volusia County, which falls under the Merritt Island refuge's administrative oversight.

A lapse of appropriations would leave no funding to pay staff, unless Congress comes back with an appropriation bill and chooses to pay employees for the days off work.

“If they (Congress) choose not to, they (refuge employees) will not be paid, she said.

National Weather Service forecasting activities and other operations would continue at the Melbourne weather station, said Ciaran Clayton, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration spokeswoman.

Veterans Administration inpatient care, outpatient care, prescriptions, dental treatment and other medical services would remain fully operational at the outpatient clinic in Viera.

However, VA call centers and hotlines would cease to function.

45th Space Wing spokesman Christopher Calkins listed potential impacts on his agency’s Patrick Air Force Base facilities:

-- Child Development Centers may limit support to many families, giving priority to single/dual military personnel

-- Youth programs, centers and sports may be suspended

-- Education and training would be limited

-- Dining facility and fitness center operating hours could be limited

-- Commissary operations could be affected

-- Elective surgery and procedures in Department of Defense medical and dental facilities would be suspended

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