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Washoe County works through partial federal government shutdown


WASHOE COUNTY NEWS — On the third day of the partial federal government shutdown, John Berkich, Washoe County’s Interim County Manager said operations at both the state and local government levels should not be disrupted in the short-term.

“Should the partial shutdown continue, more serious challenges could obviously occur,” said Berkich. “Local governments will likely face fewer challenges than states, as relatively little direct federal funding comes to the local level.”

Berkich explained this partial shutdown will not affect mandatory and essential services such as Social Security and Medicare, but discretionary programs pertaining to the Federal Housing Authority (FHA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will be.

“Many programs are “forward-funded,” which means they’ve already been appropriated,” said Berkich. “Some are funded through the first fiscal quarter and others through the end of October, which affects departments in human services. For other programs, funds may be rolled over from the previous fiscal year to continue the services.”

Some federal programs that are important to Washoe County and are affected by the partial government shutdown are:

  • Federal reimbursements and grant funding will be delayed.
  • The processing of federally funded loans will be delayed, which will affect FHA home and small business loans.
  • Projects requiring federal reviews by the EPA will be delayed.
  • BLM and the U.S. Forest Service are operating with only emergency staff, so facilities including parks and campgrounds are closed, but recreational areas remain accessible. Locally, the Galena Creek Park Visitor’s Center has been closed.

“What’s not yet clear are the decisions the state will need to make if the delay in federal funding of grants continues,” said Berkich. “That would impact programs both at the state and local levels and the salaries of employees funded under those programs. It’s not certain if states will be reimbursed for keeping these programs running, but we have a great working relationship with the state, so we’ll search for solutions. The longer the partial federal shutdown goes on, the more creative we’ll have to be, so we will continue to explore and monitor all options available.”


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