How the $85 bil. in federal spending cuts will hit Lane Co.

How the $85 bil. in federal spending cuts will hit Lane Co.
President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, right. Taken Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

EUGENE, Ore. -- After Sequestration phases in across the nation, number-crunchers in Eugene are still trying to figure out how the cuts will unfold across Lane County.

The nearly $85 billion in automatic spending cuts have left agencies and schools in the area bracing for budget cuts.

While the president and congressional leaders point fingers, authorities on the local level are left to work out what that total cuts will be in Lane County.

As of now, officials said that health services will see Federal grant cuts to community health centers and co-pay coverage for children’s immunizations.

The women, infant and children nutrition program (called "WIC") may take a 12 percent cut which Lane County Health Department official Jason Davis sees as detrimental to the program.

“That results in over 900 individuals not being able to receive the services they're currently receiving each month,” Davis said.

Lane County Commissioner Sid Leiken said the government is holding back nearly $500,000 on the final timber payments check to Lane County.

“This is public safety money … it’s how we really view this. Because - as you know - 70 percent of our general fund has to do with public safety,” said Leiken.

School districts will see less money from title-1 grants from the federal government. This would cut grant money to primary and secondary schools as well as schools that serve special needs and low-income children.

Kerry Delf with the Eugene 4-J said that the cuts will affect a lot of students in her district.

“Our very early analysis is that we could lose about one and a quarter million dollars of federal funding over the course of a year,” Delf said.

Eugene Airport spokeswoman Cathryn Stephens told KVAL News that the effects of the cuts should be minor, with more furlough days for TSA security people. 

She said that those furlough days will be spread out, and service delays should not be a problem.

Davis remains optimistic, saying the good news is that the county saw this coming and they can shift new state grant money to county clinics and the WIC program.

Commissioner Leiken said he wants to see congress and the president sit down and work this out.

“The number one -- your number one priority should be the country and not your caucuses,” said Leiken.

Veteran’s Administration managers in Roseburg say the VA is shielded from the federal sequestration cuts, which includes the care and benefits to vets.

The VA also picked a site to build a new outpatient clinic in northeast Eugene.

With an anticipated opening in 2015, the potential location off of Chad Drive will replace two smaller clinics on River Road and River Avenue in Eugene.