Citing budget cuts, Fort Bragg cancels July 4th celebration
Posted April 11, 2013 9:16 a.m. EDT
Updated April 11, 2013 6:59 p.m. EDT
Fort Bragg, N.C. — Fort Bragg announced Thursday that its Fourth of July celebration will be canceled because of budget cuts.
Post officials said they cannot afford the $120,000 in overtime pay associated with the event, which has regularly drawn more than 50,000 people since it started more than 30 years ago.
“Our reduced operating budget for the remainder of this year forces many very tough decisions; notably, I must cancel our annual Fort Bragg 4th of July celebration,” Lt. Gen. Daniel B. Allyn, commander of XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg, said in a statement.
"With a pending civilian workforce furlough and a 34 percent operational budget cut, we're prioritizing our services to ensure our readiness and care of service members, civilians and families."
After the decision was announced, people began complaining on social media, and some even offered to pay for the July 4th event themselves. A Fort Bragg spokesman said federal rules don't allow any donations to cover overtime costs.
The federal budget sequester has forced other recent cuts on post, including the cancellation of some mowing and landscaping contracts and the cancellation of cable TV contracts in fitness centers.
Habanero's Grill, Runway Bowling Lanes, the woodworking shop and Cleland Ice Rink will also be closing.
“While we expect to face additional tough fiscal decisions in the weeks ahead, we will continue to train our force to sustain our individual and unit readiness to meet assigned and contingency missions," Allyn said.
The Navy announced Thursday the cancellation of the 2013 Navy Week season, which shows Americans the investment they have made in the Navy and its role in preserving the nation's security. Navy Week festivities had been scheduled to visit Raleigh during the 2013 season.
Last week, Fort Bragg announced that soldiers will no longer serve as school crossing guards on the post because of cuts.