The effects of the recent Federal Government shutdown are beginning to be felt here in Ava. While most agencies and services continue to function normally, some federal offices are completely closed. Here’s a rundown of how the shutdown is impacting our area.
(Editor’s Note: The government shutdown is still unfolding. The information below was accurate when we went to press, but could change at any moment. We’ll update each week as the shutdown continues.)
• Post Office: Open
The United States Post Office is an independent entity, not funded by tax dollars but rather by sales of products and services. It’s not impacted by a government shutdown and remains open with normal business hours.
• IRS Tax Filings: Slightly Delayed
Deana Parsick of the Tax Diva in Ava says, “Filing begins January 28th this year, which is a bit later than we’ve ever seen it, but we’re not expecting any significant processing delays. The IRS says to expect refunds in 14 to 21 days as normal.”
• IRS Tax Audits: On Hold
Residents currently in the middle of or waiting for an IRS audit will have to wait. Parsick says, “The IRS Audit department is completely closed and not answering the phone.”
• Forestry Service: Closed
The Ava/Cassville/Willow Springs Ranger District of the Mark Twain National Forest is closed. The Ava facilities are gated shut. A sign posted on the gate read, “The U.S. Department of Agriculture office is currently closed, due to the lapse in federal government funding. The office will reopen once funding is restored.”
• WIC: Available
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) “is currently not affected and operating normally,” says Valerie Reese, Administrator, Douglas County Health Department.
• SNAP (Foodstamps): Available
The State of Missouri Department of Social Services Family Support Division office in Ava confirmed that Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program payments (historically known as foodstamps) were available and operating as normal.
• Low Income Housing Assistance: Available
“So far we aren’t affected. We look good through February, but March is currently up in the air,” says Karen Evans at the Ava City Housing Authority.
• FSA: Closed
The United States Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency office in Ava is closed. The sign posted on the door reads “Due to the lapse in Federal Government funding FSA employees have been furloughed.”
• Douglas County Soil and Water: Open
“It’s business as usual, but that could change at any moment,” says District Conservationist Aaron Hoefer at the USDA Douglas County Soil & Water Conservation District / USDA Service Office in Ava.
• USDA Rural Development Loans: Applications Not Being Processed
The United States Department of Agriculture offers various loans through its Rural Development program. However, Stephanie Sweet, Residential Lender of Great Southern Bank says “We are currently unable to process USDA Rural Development loan applications.”
• FHA Loans: Available
The Federal Housing Authority offers government-backed mortgages that require lower minimum credit scores and down payments. Great Southern’s Sweet says “We can currently process FHA loans,” but delays wouldn’t be a surprise. Local realtors Brad Lohuis from United Country Area Land Realty and Sheila Wiley from Ozark Mountain Real Estate report no impact to their sales yet.