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County expecting effects from government shutdown

BY LILY ABROMEIT | OCTOBER 11, 2013 5:00 AM

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Following the government shutdown 11 days ago, Johnson County officials said they are planning for changes the action may bring.

The shutdown, which went into effect Oct. 1, closed down many government institutions.

But while recognizing the effects, members of the Johnson County Board of Supervisors said there are no solid plans to move forward.

“It is such a fluid thing that will continue the longer things are shut down,” said Andy Johnson, executive assistant for the supervisors.

Supervisor Chairwoman Janelle Rettig said that over the next month, the county should see differences, particularly at the end of the week, when she expects widespread issues to become much more “desperate.”

Supervisor Rod Sullivan said although future changes are probable, the impact has already been felt in numerous ways.

“We’ve seen some things that affect our social services and grants, we’ve seen some effects in public-health grants, some veteran programs have also been affected,” Sullivan said. “These are little things so far, but as time goes on they get bigger and bigger.”

Many of the national departments affected will hit close to home to Iowans — WIC, the IRS, which has been partially closed, and the USDA National Resources Conservation Service.

Supervisor Terrence Neuzil said local officials will begin to identify possible effects in the greater Iowa City area.

“I think the gist of it is to continue to identify the [variety] of local impacts on our level,” Neuzil said. “I’m guessing the cities will do the same, and I’m sure that our congressional delegation are going to want to know what that means locally at the same time.”

This process, Rettig said, will involve conversations with places such as the Johnson County Crisis Center — she noted many people may need help immediately. She said reaching out to them may be one way the supervisors can be productive in helping to discover a solution.

“For many people, not getting their Social Security checks for a few weeks might not be a big deal, but in our community and our county, so many people live in poverty [that] if those checks are not there it won’t take long for us to have a big problem,” Rettig said.


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