Homestead Air Reserve Base may furlough civilian workers in June

Several Department of Defense civilian employees at the Homestead Air Reserve Base will feel the pain of budget cuts.

Cuts in federal spending in effect since March 1 have triggered budgetary measures at the Air Force Reserve Command, which maintains and operates the base in Homestead.

Force-wide unpaid furloughs originally set to start on April were delayed to June. It remains unclear how many of the 527 civilian employees in Homestead will be affected, but there will be a $4 million loss of civilian wages, Homestead Air Reserve Base Capt. Brooke Davis said.

“The Air Force has been implementing prudent measures that will help mitigate our budget risks, and to the extent feasible, minimize any harmful effects on readiness,” Davis said.

Homestead employees spending less on local businesses, because of pay cuts scares Alberto Eiras, who co-owns Miami Clippers, a barbershop near the base.

“The Homestead Air Force Base is a big part of our community,” Eiras said. “The majority of the people who live on the base eat in our restaurants and shop in our stores. Most of my clients at the barber shop are from the base. We do depend on them entirely.”

The 14 days of furloughs would happen over seven two-week pay periods until the end of September. Also a hiring-freeze issued Jan. 16 remains in effect.

“Major commands have been implementing actions to reduce spending and mitigate budget execution risks,” Capt. Davis said.

Despite force-wide cuts estimated at $41 billion, the Homestead base is continuing with $22.6 million in restoration projects and $14.8 million in construction.

“Any change is concerning,” Eiras said. “I remember back after Hurricane Andrew, they shipped off a lot of the military and many businesses in Homestead had to close down. What ever impacts the military has an impact on us.”

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