Fort Bragg cancels 4th of July events due to budget constraints - WNCN: News, Weather

Fort Bragg cancels 4th of July events due to budget constraints

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FORT BRAGG, N.C. -

Fort Bragg has announced that due to budget constraints, the base has canceled this year's Fourth of July celebration.

Officials say the overtime pay associated with the celebration, a total of $120,000, is unsupportable. Overtime pay was needed for the civilian workforce said Fort Bragg spokesman Tom McCollum. Fort Bragg is cutting their operational budget by 34 percent.

Officials say the annual event on the Main Post Parade Field attracts more than 50,000 people from throughout southeastern North Carolina, and has been held for more than 30 years.

Even donations won't help, because federal rules don't allow money to be designated to civilian overtime. McCollum said any donated money would go to the federal level, and it could not be designated to the Independence Day celebration.

Bragg officials say they're also reviewing other programs and services and have made some changes, like canceling weekend controlled burns and mowing and landscaping contracts.

"We know that it is a very emotional decision that we have had to make, especially for the people in this region," McCollum said.

The news of the cancellation was a letdown for many people Thursday. Hairstylist Sue Davis said they have attended the celebration in past years and really enjoyed it.

"It's mainly family time. You could go out there and play games, have picnics, have entertainment, and then stay around for the fireworks," Davis said. "It's a shame that they're not going to have fireworks for the people that fight for our country out at Fort Bragg to celebrate our independence."

She and coworker Janina Douglas said it seems as if the entire area shuts down for the festival, especially the fireworks.

"Even Bragg Boulevard, even if you're not in the service, that entire street has people parked on the side of the street up and down just watching them," Douglas said.

Fort Bragg is encouraging people to find other Fourth of July events, like the ones in Aberdeen and Pinehurst.

McCollum said more cutbacks are likely to come. He said there has been an effort to make cuts that would have the least impact on the local community, but that is getting harder and harder to do.

"There are now sacred cows out there," McCollum said. "We will make the decisions where it has to take place in order for us to fulfill our missions."

McCollum said the only spending areas that may be immune from cutbacks are those that are directly necessary for the base to train, deploy and recover troops, and to care for their families while they are deployed.

 

 

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