NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — People are feeling the effects of the government shutdown nation-wide, including right here in New Hanover County.
With zero federal dollars coming into the county, local programs like the Health Department’s WIC program, which provides low income mothers with essential items like formula and baby food, may suffer.
The effects have residents wondering if county officials can step in.
“Our job as county officials and very limited, as it should be,” said New Hanover County Commission Chairman Woody White. “Federal programs that fund those types of programs are passed through dollars. There is no match. It is not possible for us to put on the burden of our local tax payers federal programs.”
The county does have a type of savings account, though, called a fund balance.
“Our fund balance is there number one to make sure we have enough resources to fund county government,” said New Hanover County Commissioner Jonathan Barfield.
Commissioner Jonathan Barfield said the fund balance helps the county borrow money with better interest rates, essentially allowing the county to pay less to fund programs like Wave transit. He said tapping into this fund now would hurt tax-payers in the end. He said the government would likely not pay the county back.
“I don’t know where we would find $300,000 a week to replenish what the federal government is not sending to the counties,” said Barfield.
According to county officials, the only remedy is to get on the phone and call your congressmen and senators.