The federal government shutdown for the most part did not cause too many disruptions in the Ottawa area.
Richard Jackson, East Central Kansas Economic Opportunity Corporation executive director, said the federal government funds most of their programs, but ECKAN has enough capital on hand to operate for the next 30 days.
The U.S. Senate and House voted Monday to end the government shutdown by extending three weeks of funding. It now goes to President Trump for his signature, possibly ending the shutdown as soon as today.
There is no guarantee, however, funding would continue beyond that three week window if a compromise between Democrats and Republicans cannot be reached, political analysts said.
Midge Ransom, Franklin County Health director, said if the shutdown would resume after three weeks, it may affect some of their programs.
Jeanne Stroh, Ottawa school superintendent, said the school district would not be effected at all.
“What federal funding we get is an automatic transfer from the state,” she said. “It is done quarterly.”
A few others are directly affected. The Franklin County Farm Service Agency, 343 W. 23rd St., Ottawa, will not open until the government shutdown is through. A voice mail from Megan Wilcox, county executive director at the office, said she was on furlough until government funding returns.
The shutdown closed the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, meaning if somebody wants a gun permit, they will have to wait until the funding returns. That means a loss of revenue for the Gun Guys, 412 S. Main St., Ottawa.
“Anybody that does not have a conceal and carry permit won’t be permitted to buy a firearm until the shutdown is over,” Tim VanLeiden, Gun Guys owner, said.
He said a background check cannot take place until the shutdown ends.
“It is not good if I can’t sell guns,” VanLeiden said. “We are in the business of selling guns. It will be a huge thing if it goes on for very long. That is how we pay the bills.”
Several area lakes and recreational parks offices ran by the U.S. Corp of Engineers were closed, according to a news release. Those lakes included Pomona, Clinton and Perry. It included all the visitor facilities, campgrounds, and similar facilities at all 18 of the lake projects, the release said. Campers who are on site prior to the shutdown are required to vacate the campground by Monday evening. Campers will receive a refund for any unused portion of their stay.
Offices not open were Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism and KWPT game wardens, the news release said
Mike Skidmore, director for Goppert State Service Bank, 1250 E. Logan St., Ottawa, and Ottawa’s mayor, said the shutdown did not cause any problems for the his bank or the city.
“It was business as usual for us [at the bank],” Skidmore said. “The money is still flowing.”
He said the City of Ottawa did not have any issues.
“We don’t have that much dealings with the federal government,” Skidmore said. “If this goes on for three or four months that might make difference. We hope it is a short-lived issue.”
Jackson said the timing helped the cause of his organization.
“It is all about when you can draw [money] out and how much [money] you have on hand,” Jackson said. “We just made some draw downs.”
He said some of his programs receive federal funds through the state.
“We got [word] from the state they said their last draw down was Dec. 9,” Jackson said. “They drew down enough money not only to cover that period of time, but all the way through January. The first thing I did [Monday] morning was double check to make sure we [had] at least 30 days operating capital.”
Jackson said this is part of doing business with the federal government.
“It’s something you encounter every now and then,” he said. “Some of us have been through three or four shutdowns. Not that you don’t get a little anxiety because you don’t know how it is going to go. It would be nice if they would pass a budget for a change and do away with the continuing resolution stuff.”
Ransom said most of the federal grant money for their health programs were already in the bank.
“The federal grant year starts in October,” she said. “The only that could be effected was WIC [Women, Infants and Children]. They sent out a notice that was not going to effect anything at this time.”
The shutdown, doesn’t mean every federally funded agency will grind to a halt, according to news reports.
Essential services, such as Social Security, air traffic control and the Transportation Security Administration, will continue to be funded.
even if some employees of those agencies are not. Americans will still receive their Social Security and Medicare benefits and food stamps. However, those expecting Veterans Administration benefits, unemployment benefits, farm subsidies and tax refunds may experience delays.