VALDOSTA — With a shutdown of the federal government looming at midnight, national agencies were scrambling Friday to plan for closing offices and suspending non-essential services.
A squabble between the White House and Congress regarding funding issues could mean when midnight rolls around, the national government has no more spending authority. Attempts to pass temporary stopgap spending measures failed, and the Senate was heading for a showdown vote Friday over the matter.
In the event the federal government scales back its activities, how would South Georgia be affected?
The mail will still be delivered because the postal service gets its revenue from sales, not tax dollars, said Kanickewa Johnson, United States Postal Service spokeswoman.
According to the Social Security Administration's contingency plan, the checks would still go out, though services at local Social Security offices may be curtailed. For instance, replacing Social Security and Medicare cards and correcting records would be put on hold.
A spokesman for Moody Air Force Base said "proper planning will occur to ensure appropriate preparedness for the possibility of a government shutdown."
The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, located in Charlton, Ware and Clinch counties, would remain open to the public, though some facilities and activities would be cancelled, said Susie Heisey, supervisory refuge ranger. The main entrance, the water trails, boat ramp, Swamp Island Drive and Okefenokee Adventures, which offers food, boat tours and kayak and canoe rentals, would remain open, she said.
The administration center and the visitors' center would close, and no new overnight camping permits would be issued, though permits already issued would be honored, Heisey said.
The Banks Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Lanier County would remain open, as would its concessions building, she said.
Terry Richards is senior reporter at The Valdosta Daily Times.