Government Shutdown: National Parks, local residents, affected by Antideficiency Act
VERDE VALLEY - The last time the United States government orchestrated its own shutdown, Camp Verde Town Manager Russ Martin had just married his wife Ann.
They were visiting the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. And it had chains around it.
"I remember it very well," Martin said of the couple's December 1995 honeymoon, which included a trip to Washington, D. C. "I didn't have the perspective of how [a governmental shutdown] would hit the economy then. I was young, college-aged."
Resulting from the government's lockdown at midnight Tuesday, Montezuma Castle National Park closed its doors.
So did Tuzigoot National Monument, Montezuma Castle and Well.
And nobody knows when the parks will reopen.
Not even the employees.
"Having the National Parks closed effects our economy," Martin said. "That concerns me. Is it a temporary thing? [Camp Verde] businesses are not doing great. So how does this affect them in the long term? If it goes on for the long-term, how about the vets who count on [Prescott Veterans Administration Medical Center] services. I don't know how they'll be affected."
According to the Antideficiency Act, when federal agencies and programs lack appropriated funding, they must cease operations, except in certain emergency situations or when law authorizes continued activity.
Government shutdowns have necessitated furloughs of several hundred thousand federal employees, required cessation or reduction of many government activities, and affected numerous sectors of the economy, according to an August 2013 report by Congressional Research Service, titled "Shutdown of the Federal Government: causes, Processes and Effects."
Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot National Monuments have 39 employees who currently do not have a job to go to, said Dorothy Firecloud, Superintendent, Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot National Monuments. For the time being, the parks, which include Montezuma Well, will only be able to staff three law enforcement personnel and one maintenance person, with law enforcement acting as security.
Firecloud also said the United States Congress has not been able to come to an agreement regarding a resolution.
"This is congressionally driven," Firecloud said.
Sharon Doran, Auxiliary President of American Legion Post 93, echoed Firecloud.
"They are political adversaries," Doran said. "Republicans and Democrats, they have forgotten what they are there for. We as American citizens don't step up and demand our congress to do what they were elected to do."
According to Doran, the government shutdown also affects American soldiers.
"Our soldiers are defending us, and they'll be the first ones to be hurt," Doran said. "They won't get any pay. Every veteran benefit will be affected by this."