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Sequestration creeps into Albany

Albany Assistant City Manager Wes Smith holds a document explaining sequester cuts during a town hall meeting Saturday at the Albany Police Department’s East Albany Precinct.

Albany Assistant City Manager Wes Smith holds a document explaining sequester cuts during a town hall meeting Saturday at the Albany Police Department’s East Albany Precinct.

ALBANY, Ga. -- Sequestration reared its head in Albany Friday when the Federal Aviation Administration announced that the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport's control tower was among 149 nationwide to feel the sting of automated federal budget cuts.

The local tower is one of five in the state set for closure. The other four are in Athens, Lawrenceville, Macon and Cobb County. Flights in and out of Albany will be handled by air traffic controllers in Jacksonville, Fla.

At a town hall meeting Saturday at the Albany Police Department's East Albany precinct, Albany Assistant City Manager Wes Smith, accompanied by airport manager Yvette Aehle, said more local cuts are likely on the way.

"Right now we are living our own version of 'March Madness'," Smith said. We know more cuts are coming, but right now we don't know where they will be coming from. There are a lot of nervous people at the Marine base right now. We're anticipating that contract workers on the base will be furloughed one day per pay period."

And that is the best case scenario.

The $85 billion in automated federal budget cuts, which took affect on March 1, are evenly split between domestic and defense programs, with half affecting defense discretionary spending and the rest affecting both mandatory and discretionary domestic spending.

"The idea that the sequester would actually take place was so crazy that the House would not allow it to happen ... but it did," Smith said. "The whole situation is so fluid That I really don't like talking about it because what I say today could change tomorrow."

Across the board cuts will take place in the military ($42.7 billion), domestic discretionary ($28.7), Medicare ($9.9 billion) and $4 billion in other mandatory cuts.

"I imagine some contracts (at the MCLB) will be placed on hold," Smith said. "It's the uncertainty of the thing that hurts the most. I spent all morning preparing for this meeting and I'm still not sure if my notes are accurate or not."

Education will also take a hit. According to the Washington Post, Georgia can expect to lose $28.6 million in federal money due to the cuts.

The cuts will place at risk the jobs of 390 Georgia teachers and decrease services to 54,000 Students at 80 in-state schools. The decrease in funding for students with disabilities will amount to $17.5 million and reduce school staff by 210.

At the airport, Aehle remains concerned about the future when the FAA drawdowns begin on April 7.

"There are still a lot of unanswered questions, like what happens when we turn the lights off (on the tower)?" Aehle said. "We can still operate but it's new and something we're going to have to get used to."

Comments

GeeGee 1 year ago

It is going to get a lot worse in the future years. Get ready regardless of who is in office. The greedy spending has got to stop. Even if it means replacing all of Congress and the Senate. Folks are tired of paying more than their way. Time for lazy folks to start working and get a life. It is not the American taxpayers place to take care of deadbeats. Keep on spending and America will have no jobs here. What Socialists do not tell you is that rich corporations do not have to keep their companies in America. They can leave the same way their forefathers left wherever they came from.

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rightasrain 1 year ago

The Obama Marxist Regime on the move...it will get worse!

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Sister_Ruby 1 year ago

Lest we forget: $17 Trillion in US debt and adding $1 Trillion per year every year in the future. The Democrats are not interested in reducing "spending" aka buying votes from the 55% who pay no Federal taxes already. All the Democrats want to do is raise taxes on the ever shrinking minority who are already paying taxes. Here's the catch: if you gave Democrats another $10 Trillion in taxes, they would spend $14 Trillion (forty cents borrowed for every dollar spent today) because they say we don't have a spending problem now so it just tells you how stupid the Dems are and how gullible their voting base is.

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RedEric 1 year ago

Sequestration belongs to Obama. 5 million illegals on welfare = $60 billion per year. All illegals given Obamacare by Senate = $20 billion m/l. Two illegals in NJ who may have been part of 9/11 terrorist crew. Hundreds of millions for totally ignorant studies that have no positive impact on our country. All the while food is reduced to elderly and tax paying citizens are being laid off. The people who voted for this creep should be ashamed. Although, realistically if you voted for Obama you haven't the capacity for shame.

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VSU 1 year ago

All above is true, but the Democrats will tell you it is the Republicans fault.

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Wryone 1 year ago

Anyone who believes democrats after all that has happened to the country and its citizens the past 4-1/2 years needs to be institutionalized. The inmates are running the asylum now. And if you believe things are going to turn around in the next 4-8 years you are delusional. Obamacare will be the final nail in America's economic coffin, it will wipe out the backbone of the economy....small business.

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USTPC 1 year ago

I know the answer but I am going to ask the question anyway.

If the 3-4 flights a day in/out of Albany can be handled by the tower in Jacksonville why was this cost cutting measure not already in affect?

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MRKIA 1 year ago

BECAUSE IT MAKES SENSE. DUH!!!

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mrcvsjr 1 year ago

Click on the link for a objective point of view, but I know it will be dismissed and looked down upon. http://www.theprogressivesinfluence.com/2013/02/the-sequester-federal-government-post.html

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USTPC 1 year ago

The debt problem we find ourselves in is the fault of both Republicans and Democrats. It has been a problem for the last 16 years. It will continue to be a problem because our elected leaders are more concerned about getting re-elected than they are about the spiraling debt issue.

The US government will get more revenue this year than in any year in the history of our country and they will still have to borrow money. That in and of itself is a sad statement.

A trillion dollar cut in expenses should be easy. Stop the grants to fund research of pet shampoo, why lesbians are fat, etc. Stop sending money to foreign countries that openly hate us. Crackdown on welfare fraud. I am sure there are a hundred other things that could be changed to save a trillion dollars a year. But it will never happen because making those changes might mean someone does not get re-elected.

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oldster 1 year ago

Instead of blaming the republicans for the sequestration, I think the democrats should take "credit" for this. With our country in such unfathomable debt this IS the way of the future and to prevent a complete financial collapse more cuts will have to be made.

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