Westover Already Feeling Sequester Effects
CHICOPEE, Mass. (WGGB) –After 11 years working at Westover Air Reserve Base, Master Sgt. Andrew Biscoe is bracing himself for the inevitable, a 20% pay cut. “I’ve got a family, 2 kids and a mortgage that won’t let up. Just because all this stuff’s happening so I have to adjust, and my wife and I are making conversations about our daily routine, what we’re going to do,” he shared.
The sequester is forcing the Air Reserve Technician into a furlough, meaning 1 day a week he’ll be on unpaid leave. He’s not alone; the same thing will happen to the more than 750 other civilian workers on the base. The cuts won’t only hurt families like Biscoe’s but they’ll affect other things you’re used to seeing here over the summer. “We’ve 18% less flying, to a civilian hiring freeze. There will be no airshows, no flyovers, that won’t happen this year,” said Lt.Col. James Bishop.
While the air show wasn’t scheduled for this year anyway, even future dates would have been cancelled.
Lt. Col. Bishop says the cuts are unprecedented, and will have a direct impact on the local economy. “We have an economic impact of about $238 million on the Western Mass economy. That’ll go down by 10%,” he added.
Employees, families, and community members in and around Westover will start to feel the impact come April 25th.
According to the Department of Defense, the furloughs are expected to last through September.