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Shutdown Has Local Impact

<p><strong>Shut down</strong>. The Ouachita National Forest office in Booneville was one of those forced to close due to the federal government shutdown last week.</p>

Shut down. The Ouachita National Forest office in Booneville was one of those forced to close due to the federal government shutdown last week.

A government shutdown that took effect on Oct. 1 when Congress could not come to terms on an agreement to continue funding the government has been felt locally.

Federal offices in Booneville such as those operated by the National Forest and the United States Department of Agriculture were closed last week effecting agricultural research and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lakes in Arkansas and places like Hise’s Landing on Blue Mountain Lake,

Logan County Judge Gus Young got an email last week that said anyone seeking Title II grant reimbursable money for federally funded projects would be waiting a while because there was nobody to process the requests.

That is somewhat of a problem for Young because he had a project slated to end on Wednesday and the vendor will be wanting paid.

Young said the county would likely be paying the vendor and waiting for the resumption of work by the government. Doing so to the tune of just under $30,000 will not cripple county government.

Booneville Mayor Jerry Wilkins was slated to attend a celebration event at the 188th Air National Guard last weekend. He learned Wednesday it had been cancelled.

The event was one of many nationwide scrubbed by the government shutdown.

“I think it’s good,” said Wilkins. “It just shows how dumb those people in Washington are (to) the real world. I think when we get back into office and we get the money back they need to build a playground up there, where we can all have someplace to play since we’re all acting like children, we can go play on the playground.”

“This is not about what’s best for the people that voted for you, or the country. It’s about Republican and Democratic issues.”

Wilkins isn’t oblivious to the potential effects.

While the shutdown reach from Washington, D.C. to South Logan County appears to be mostly on personal levels like job furloughs and issues with benefits, Wilkins warned a prolonged shutdown could eventually impact services his city provides.

After all, citizens with less to spend, pay less sales tax which decreases funds for some departments.

One of the benefits that look to be impacted are through the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) who notified landlords that housing assistance payments to them could be delayed.

However, families utilizing the service are strongly urged to continue paying their portion and have been told landlords cannot demand more than their typical rent share stipulated by the program.

Also operating with federal dollars but apparently not effected are public schools.

“Schools are many times a political football, but this time I’m glad we’re left out of it,” Booneville superintendent John K. Parrish said last week.

However, like Wilkins, Parrish said a prolonged shutdown could have an effect on things like school lunches and the ABC program that serves 3- and 4-year olds.

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