EGLIN A.F.B. — The impact of civil service employee furloughs would be felt throughout the community if sequestration is activated March 1, Crestview City Council President Ben Iannucci III said.
"How many people in Crestview either are in the military or work for the military — it's a lot of people in our community.... That's going to affect everything from shopping to people thinking of coming here on vacation."
Eglin Air Force Base's civilian employees were notified Wednesday to prepare for possible furloughs if congressionally mandated sequestration is activated. The law requires a half-trillion-dollar across-the-board government-spending cut following the bi-partisan Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction's failure to arrive at a plan for reducing the national deficit.
The committee announced its inability to reach agreement on Nov. 21, 2012. Sequestration would have begun Jan. 1, but Congress gave a three-month extension. President Barack Obama has shielded active duty military members from furloughs.
With a large segment of the north county's workers employed in civil service, sequestration would have a local economic impact.
"It would definitely cause me to cut back on spending," Crestview resident Matthew Smith, a civilian worker at the Eglin Air Force Base Test Support lab, said. "I think I would be OK because of the way I set up my house payments, but it would make my finances tighten up."
Furloughs could occur one day a week beginning April 1 for up to 22 weeks through the fiscal year, defense contractor InDyne General Manager Jim Heald said.
"That's a 20 percent hit," Heald said. "I'm very nervous for my workforce. I have about 800 great patriots working for me. Hopefully Congress will do its job."
InDyne, a private company, could be affected by furloughs because it receives government oversight during tests on the range.
"It may slow things down. If we can't do testing on the day the government employee isn't there, we'll have to do something else — and we hope that 'something else' is not furlough."