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Federal shutdown puts pinch on cities

Published On: Oct 10 2013 08:23:08 AM CDT   Updated On: Oct 10 2013 08:23:39 AM CDT

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MADISON, Wis. -

Dwindling federal funds because of the government shutdown and sequestration is concerning local city leaders.

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin said at a news conference Wednesday that city funds are already being affected by the shutdown.

"We've had reimbursements that should take us through the next two months. There appears to be no end in sight to the closing of the federal government and we have to start preparing the best we can for difficulties."

Soglin said he's concerned about federal programs that provide heating assistance to low-income families. He's also concerned about HUD's Community Development Block Grants and Madison Metro.

Some of the programs could experience a shortage of funds within the next week, according to Soglin.

A spokesperson for Madison Metro said bus service is not in danger, but two programs slated for next year could be in jeopardy if the shutdown continues. The city is expecting to use about $8 million in federal funds to buy 20 new buses next year. It is also expecting federal dollars to renovate and replace some of the bus shelters.

U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wis., held a town hall meeting over the phone Wednesday night with his voters to talk about the shutdown.

“I’m confident that we will get a resolution to this. I know there are people in both parties that will get us there, but we really have to do everything we can to get Speaker Boehner to allow us to have that vote, and once we have that vote, we’ll sit down and negotiate a budget,” Pocan said.

He answered questions about the shutdown, the debt ceiling and when furloughed workers might see paychecks.

The House did pass a bill to pay government workers that is now in the hands of the Senate.

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