The longest federal government shutdown has had a wide impact. Central Arizona Governments (CAG), a regional planning district, has had to institute an unpaid furlough for the duration.
CAG is comprised of Pinal and Gila counties, their respective incorporated communities, including Maricopa, and Native American communities.
“With the federal government shutdown, many of our funding agencies are being affected,” said Andrea Robles, interim executive director. “We have learned that CAG does not have access to the majority of our reimbursable funding sources including EDA, USDA, some transportation funds and EPA project approvals. The billings are booked to be paid to CAG, but the funds have been ‘frozen’ for the duration of the shutdown.”
Robles said the Globe City Council approved an “advanced payment” of $50,000 to CAG on Jan. 8 for administration of projects to cover operating expenses for January.
The partial shutdown is now 25 days long, surpassing the 21-day shutdown during the Clinton Administration that cost the government $400 million, according to the Congressional Research Service. The current shutdown, which started Dec. 22, came about over a stalemate between the Trump Administration and majority Democrats in the House of Representatives regarding $5.7 billion in funding for a wall along the border with Mexico.
The unpaid furlough at CAG was put in place to decrease expenses while maintaining “the work that is required to keep up with our grants and projects,” Robles said. CAG staff will work a reduced workweek, Tuesday-Thursday 7 a.m.-6 p.m.
CAG helped coordinate planning of the Pinal Regional Transportation Authority and landed planning fund funds for a regional transit study. CAG’s Community Development Block Grant planning program distributes funds through the Arizona Department of Housing.
“Staff continues to look for additional funding sources to enable us to provide the best possible services to our cities and towns throughout the region,” Robles said.