Government shutdown has slim effect on Randolph

The shutdown of various sectors of the federal government has yet to have many direct effects on Randolph County and Elkins city government. However, local officials warn that the longer the shutdown lasts, the more of an impact it will have on the region.

“I don’t know any exact numbers of workers affected, but I have heard of cases,” said Robbie Morris, executive director of the Randolph County Development Authority. “I know that the Fish and Wildlife and the Social Security administration have been effected.”

The Department of the Interior’s Fish and Wildlife office in Elkins is closed, and the phone number for the Social Security office located in Elkins has been disconnected.

When asked about the status of the U.S. District court in Elkins, the office of U.S. district clerk Cheryl Dean Riley in Wheeling would only say, “We are operating as normal.”

The administrative office of the U.S. Courts website said, “Funding for judiciary operations (has been) extended through Oct. 17.”

Randolph and Elkins officials said they are very concerned about the shutdown continuing.

“The longer it goes on, we will sure see an effect on the local economy,” said Morris. “There’s not a panic yet, but there’s definitely a concern and hope for Congress to act soon.”

Randolph County Commissioner Mike Taylor said of the shutdown, “I’m a little frustrated. People are becoming disillusioned with elected officials. It needs to get settled.”

If the shutdown continues long enough, Tayor said it could cost the county by the federal government not funding pass-through grants. Programs that would be impacted fall under the following acts: the Violence Against Women Act, the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act, and the Justice Assistance Grant.

According to Elkins City Clerk Sutton Stokes, the shutdown’s effect within city government has been minimal so far.

“The local homeless shelter and domestic violence shelter are facing federal funding cuts,” said Stokes, “but there is enough of a lag that it will take some time for it to have any effect.”

Stokes said this lagging effect would allow HUD and HHS homeless assistance programs to continue to operate until at least the end of the year. Funding to run the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program is also expected to remain secure unless the shutdown lasts past December, he said.