Uncertainty looms about possible sequester effects

As the clock ticks down in Washington. D.C. to Friday’s first deadline for automatic sequestration cuts, the Washington County officials are studying how any cuts might affect county operations.

County Administrator Molly O’ Rourke said the issue was brought Tuesday to the Board of Commissioners because commissioners have asked county officials what impact any sequester cuts would have on the county.

“All we know at this time is that some loss of funding allocated to WIC and SNAP services would occur,” O’Rourke said. “We’ll have more information about what those effects would be at next Tuesday’s meeting to allow us to get the specifics it would have on county services.”

Friday signals the start of cuts if sequestration occurs. But O’Rourke said like the rest of the country, county department heads are waiting to see what will happen.

“My understanding is that the (federal) government needs to give 30-day notices if a furlough of employees is to occur and we’re not likely to see those specific impacts if they happen until March 30. But March first will give us a sense of where federal cuts might come from.”

Board Chairwoman Lisa Weik said she’ll be in Washington. D.C., this weekend for a National Association of Counties conference to learn more about potential impacts from sequester cuts.