The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Clinton

March 21, 2013

Sequestration’s local impact defined

CLINTON — Budget cuts recently made in Washington, D.C., will make an impact on some services in Clinton, while other effects are still unknown to area officials.

Approximately 25 people attended a press conference Wednesday at the Clinton Schools Administration building featuring area representatives discussing the sequester. Clinton School District Superintendent Deb Olson said the district would lose $72,000 a year because of the cuts. The majority of the impact will affect after-school functions that assist students with course work. About $11,000 will be lost for special-education services.

“We have to put a local face on what sequester means to our community,” Olson said. “It will hurt us quite a bit.”

Clinton Housing Authority Executive Director Deb Vath said she’s working with an unknown budget.

She anticipates that the biggest program they serve, the rental assistance program, will experience cuts.

The program is a voucher program that assists low-income families with renting a home.

Currently, the group serves 424 families and sends approximately $115,000 each month to landlords for rental payments.

A 1 percent cut would eliminate four families from the program. The current waiting list, which was closed in September 2011 for the first time in 25 years, features 660 Clinton and Camanche families.

“The money that we send out each month goes into the pocket of the landlords,” Vath said. “Families then have that extra money for goods and services.”

Charlie Smith, a region 9 workforce investment board member, said he, along with others in the audience, are calling for a repeal of the sequestration.

The event, sponsored by the Clinton Labor Congress, featured items the group believed should be cut and reformed instead of continuing with the sequester.

Sequestration is a series of automatic, across-the-board cuts to government agencies, totaling $1.2 trillion over 10 years.

The cuts are split 50-50 between defense and domestic discretionary spending.

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