Sequester

Black Hawk helicopters land on training ranges during an air-assault, live-fire training exercise on Fort Bragg, N.C.
U.S. Army

The U.S. Army anticipates major cuts to brigade combat teams, which sets up the country's largest military base for a big hit. Now, Fort Bragg is considering what recommendations to make when downsizing. And they're opening the process up to  public input.

"At the end of the day, our responsibility is to make sure we have trained and prepared soldiers ready to go out the door, regardless of what decisions that might be made higher than here at Fort Bragg," says base spokesman Ben Abel.

Fort Bragg could stand to lose 16,000 jobs.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is greeted by Gen. Dan Allyn, commander U.S. Forces Command, as he visits Fort Bragg
DoD Photo By Glenn Fawcett

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel paid a visit to Fort Bragg Monday.  In a town-hall style meeting broadcast live on News-14 Carolina, Hagel faced tough questions from the Ft. Bragg community, which has been hit hard with budget cuts caused by sequestration.

Fireworks at a Fort Bragg July 4th Independence Day celebration in 2008.
Susan Smith / Flickr Creative Commons

Ft. Bragg has canceled their annual 4th of July fireworks show, due to sequestration cuts. Officials there say they just couldn't handle the $80,000 in overtime costs for the annual show. People in the area organized to donate money to save the event, but any donations sent to Ft. Bragg can't be earmarked to one specific program, like the fireworks.

Teachers at North Carolina's military bases are preparing for up to five furlough days due to cuts from the sequester
Fort Bragg

Teachers at North Carolina's military bases are preparing for up to five furlough days due to cuts from the sequester. 

The Department of Defense says instructors and other nine-month employees can expect mandatory days off after the next school year starts.  Marilee Fitzgerald is the director of the Department of Defense Education Activity, which oversees schools at military bases.

Meals on Wheels volunteers in Wake County.
Meals on Wheels of Wake County

The automatic budget cuts or sequester handed down from Washington are starting to affect North Carolina organizations that serve seniors.  Meals on Wheels of Wake County says they got the news last week.  Sequestration means they will lose funding that equates to 12,000 meals a year.  Alan Winstead, Executive Director of Meals on Wheels of Wake County, says he’s confident they will find alternative funding to continue serving hot lunches to 1,300 seniors a day, but the budget cuts have other implications. 

Fort Bragg
Fort Bragg

Fort Bragg has held its annual 4th of July celebration for more than three decades. The event that Parade Magazine placed on its 2011 'bucket list' of essential American experiences has been canceled.  Post officials say sequestration cuts that took effect last month forced the move.  Spokesman Tom McCollum says the celebration has been a popular tradition.

Eric Becoats, Superintendent Durham Public Schools
Dave DeWitt

Local school districts are bracing for funding cuts due to the federal sequestration. In Durham, the cuts from sequestration could be as much as $1.7 million. In Wake County - a much larger district - the same sequester cuts would total about $11 million.

And it's the most vulnerable students who will be affected.

"Most of the items that would be impacted would be some title one funding," said Eric Becoats, Durham's superintendent. "We would also expect to see some decreases in our exceptional children's funding that we receive from the federal government as well."

 No grand bargain has been reached between the White House and Congress on a budget, leaving some North Carolinians wondering how hard the sequester will  hit the state.