Commissioners mindful of Marines, students amid cuts -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Commissioners mindful of Marines, students amid cuts

Dougherty County Commissioner John Hayes Dougherty County Commissioner John Hayes

As members of Congress continue to debate budget cuts, Dougherty County commissioners are on high alert for how our area could be impacted.

Some Commissioners are concerned how additional cuts could impact the Marine Corps Logistics Base and education. And they're doing everything they can on the local level to help. The effects of federal sequestration spending cuts are already starting to be felt in Dougherty County.

"We know that the post office is going to be closed downtown as a result of this. So there are a number of reasons why we should all be concerned about the impact of sequestration," said Dougherty County Commissioner Gloria Gaines.

And next month the air traffic control tower at the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport in Albany will be closed. That recent announcement has put some county officials on high alert about what could be impacted next.

"We're concerned, not only locally, but nationally," said Dougherty County Commissioner John Hayes. "These things affect our lives, affect our livelihoods. And so certainly, I think in the immediate concern beyond what has already happened at the airport, would be our base here and just what impact we could expect from the sequester to the activities that take place there. So certainly it's something that we're very alarmed of it."

It's still unclear how the cuts will impact the Marine Corps Logistics Base in Albany. Civilian Marines will be furloughed, but we're not sure when that will begin. Another concern is what will happen to education programs that are federally funded.

"For all of the federal funds that are coming in, Headstart funds that are coming into the community. This is a title one community, I don't know whether those funds are going to be affected," said Gaines.

Commissioner Hayes says at the local level, they're looking at every aspect of their budget to save money. "All of the areas that are part of the Dougherty County budgets, some representatives of those groups are coming before us and they're sharing information. We're just looking for some answers to a very, very difficult problem."

He says ultimately the solution lies in the hands of our nation's leaders. The Marine Corps is implementing $1.4-billion in cuts for this fiscal year.

Commissioner Hayes says they have not heard anything specific from legislators about what cuts MCLB could face.

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