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Furloughed employees return to work at Fort A.P. Hill

Posted on Monday, October 7, 2013 at 12:55 pm

The 110 Army civilian employees who were furloughed without pay at Fort A.P. Hill  on Oct. 1 returned to work today.

The Civilian employees were sent home as a result of the federal government’s shutdown.

The furlough shut down the Fort A.P. Hill Identification Card office as well as the hunting and fishing programs.

Now that all employees are back to work, hunting and fishing will be allowed on post. Outdoor Recreation will resume issuing hunting and fishing licenses on Oct. 8; the Identification Card office will also reopen on Oct. 8.

Army Family Lodging, gyms, Outdoor Recreation and Food and Beverage services are open during their normal operating hours.

This is good news for Bowling Green because the town’s largest single source of revenue is the meals tax.

Many of the A.P. Hill employees go to nearby Bowling Green restaurants for breakfast and lunch. Few, if any, of those employees were eating in Bowling Green while out of work, Town Manager Stephen Manster said.

The town got $145,000 in revenue from its meals tax last year, and town officials had calculated that the town would receive $152,000 in the current budget year, which began July 1. Due to the expected increase in meals tax revenue, the Town Council chose not to increase taxes. The real estate tax stayed at 12 cents per $100 of assessed valuation and the personal property rate remained at 60 cents per $100 of valuation for the current budget year.

During budget discussions, town officials even noted that activities related to Fort A.P. Hill were largely responsible for the steady growth of the meals tax revenue from $127,851 in fiscal year 2010 to $138,728 in 2011 to $143,338 in 2012.

With the government shutdown continuing, real estate agencies and home buyers could be affected. If you need a federal loan to buy a house, you’ll have to wait because government loan offices are closed, said Mary Pitts of Pitts and Manns Realty in Bowling Green.

“A majority of Caroline residents qualify for USDA rural development loans,” Pitts said. “This is a great loan for first time homebuyers because you don’t need a down payment.” The word in the real estate world is that for each day the government is shut down, this will create a backlog of two to three weeks.

That’s bad for home buyers who were trying close the deal on a house before the end of the year, she said. There is always the chance that interest rates could increase in 2014. So some home buyers wanted to buy a house this year.