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Lincoln County Braces For Sequestration Hit

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PARK CITY, Tenn. (WHNT) - The wide reach of sequestration furloughs and job losses is also threatening to make an impact across the Alabama-Tennessee state line.

Officials in Lincoln County, Tennessee say steep defense spending cuts could slam the brakes on growth in what has been the county's economic hot spot in recent years. The area between Park City and the state line has become a bedroom community for thousands of workers who commute over the border to Redstone Arsenal and nearby defense contractors.

One recent survey shows that more than 3,000 defense workers commute to and from Lincoln County every weekday. Officials say that's especially significant considering only 33,000 people live in the entire county, with little to no growth in other areas over the last decade. Lincoln County Commissioner David Smith said sequestration could ultimately impact county finances.

"We're very concerned here in Lincoln County," said Smith. "Over the years, people have found this [Park City and nearby] as somewhat of a bedroom community... We've been very fortunate because of the defense, the support jobs of Redstone, the military so close by, so yes, it definitely supports Lincoln County... If you lose defense jobs or support jobs, you lose restaurant worker jobs, people don't eat as much, don't buy as much."

Commissioner Smith admits a hit to Lincoln County's fastest-growing area would likely have ramifications for the rest of it. He said lower overall revenues could lead to a leaner and less extravagant budget, one reason why county officials are ramping up business recruiting efforts.

"Lincoln County is aggressively pursuing industrial development," said Smith. "There's been some work-training programs already prior to this, so yes, we have some things in place to support some of this and cushion it."

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