Defense Furloughs Will Hit City Budgets - NBC4: Columbus, Ohio News, Weather, and Sports (WCMH-TV)

Defense Furloughs Will Hit City Budgets

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WHITEHALL, Ohio -

About 13,000 civilian employees at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton and 9,000 at the Defense Supply Center Columbus (DSCC) in Whitehall will be forced to take 11 days of unpaid leave beginning in July.

Each of the 22,000 civilian employees will be on one day of furlough per week beginning July 8 until they reach 11 total days. The unpaid leave is the result of automatic defense budget cuts.     

Marlena Slaughter, an inventory and account resolution specialist at DSCC, says she got a mortgage modification to lower her monthly payments in anticipation of the pay cut.

"It'll affect our mortgages, our car payments, our whole life," Slaughter said.

John Forman, a DSCC spokesman said the furloughs, announced Tuesday, will not impede the facility's ability to meet its mission. Forman said about half of the employees at DSCC will be furloughed on Mondays, the rest will be off on Fridays. 

The 11 days of furlough are half of the 22 days originally proposed. That was good news for the City of Whitehall which had been bracing for the worst. Income tax collected from DSCC employees accounts for 60 percent of city revenues. Whitehall Director of Development Zachary Woodruff says the city expects to lose $650,000 in income taxes as a result of the furloughs.

The city could also be impacted by furloughed employees spending less at local businesses and restaurants.

"We don't know yet really what that impact will be," Woodruff said. "We know that there will be a slowdown in the local economy but that $650,000 just represents the loss of income tax for those eleven days."

Marlena Slaughter says even more than most, DSCC employees can't afford to fall behind on their monthly bills.

"We're under security clearance and when our finances aren't in order, we can get fired from our jobs," Slaughter said.

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