Columbus is host to the National Hockey League All Star game this week-end. The NHL showcase will bring thousands fans and visitors to the city as well as international media attention.
At Present, Whitehall’s Federal Workers Remain On The Job
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Thousands of federal employees continue to pass through the gates of the Defense Supply Center Columbus (DSCC). While many federal employees across the U.S. have been furloughed, it has not happened yet at the DSCC in Whitehall.
Lamar Hammockâ€™s barber shop sits just outside the Broad Street gate to DSCC in Whitehall. Heâ€™s a little frustrated right now with folks on Capitol Hill.
â€œYou canâ€™t expect us not to be patriotic; weâ€™re going to always back our country. But what we need is for yâ€™all to stop arguing up there,â€ Hammock says.
This summerâ€™s sequestration furloughs at DSCC cost the city of Whitehall $250,000 in lost income tax revenue. The figure is higher if you count lost sales and lost jobs. This is Whitehallâ€™s economic development director Zach Woodruff:
â€œThat doesnâ€™t yet factor in what the slowdown was in the Whitehall economy so that restaurants and tire stores and different grocery stores didnâ€™t need as many employees because people werenâ€™t going out and shopping as much,â€ Woodruff says.
Furloughs could occur again during the government shut down but they havenâ€™t yet. Barber Lamar Hammock says that if they do, heâ€™ll just hunker down.
â€œI know how to struggle. I know how to pinch and save. Yeah, it does affect me because the majority of my business is cash-in-hand,â€ Hammock says.
Whitehall officials were already preparing for another hit to their income tax revenue. Development director Woodruff says that if federal employees are furloughed again the city is ready, at least in the short term.
â€œWe slowed down and in a lot of cases stopped the transfer of those dollars from our general fund to our long-term plans. And so we hadnâ€™t even had the opportunity to turn the faucet so-to-speak back into those long term accounts before the government shutdown occurred,â€ Woodruff says.
And, Woodruff says, Whitehall is capable of withstanding at least a short-term financial difficulty.
â€œThe city isnâ€™t running out of money since DSCC is closing so citizens can still expect that same level of service that they have gotten for the last years to maintain as the government shuts down. Obviously the longer it goes on the harder it will be for us to do that but weâ€™re still confident in our ability to do so.
Regardless, Lamar Hammock, the barber, would like a resolution to the shutdown.
â€œThe biggest situation is more or less how do we move forward? You agree that you disagree but you got to move forward,â€™ Hammock says.