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Worry and frustration build as clock ticks down to sequestration

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HAVELOCK, N.C. -

Frustrated and disappointed. That's how some in our community are reacting now that the federal budget cuts are on our doorstep.

Sequestration was supposed to be so bad that Congress would have no choice but to come together to avoid it. But after months of failed talks, there's no agreement.

"For something like this to happen, it's very concerning to our community and to our region and the county," said Jim Freeman, Havelock City Manager.

Half of the spending cuts will come from the Department of Defense alone. That means all five thousand civilian workers at Cherry Point could face furloughs once a week for up to 22 weeks, including those at the aircraft maintenance depot FRC East.

"They work very, very hard and they're going to have to be the ones to pay for it? It doesn't seem fair," said Audrey Pari of Havelock.

Pari says she's downright frustrated.

"I think that Congress ought to be ashamed of itself. Everybody should just protest and get them out now if they could. That's how I really feel from my heart," said Pari.

Meanwhile, others are worried. On Facebook, Kayla Becton told 9 On Your Side her husband works at FRC East, and he would lose $400 a month if he gets furloughed. The trickledown effect could carry over to small businesses.

"Ninety percent of our business is from the military, the military haircuts, so if they were to do that and the military was to keep the money in their pockets, that's not good business for us," said Shea Adams, a barber in Havelock.

But not everyone feels the same way. In fact, some say the impact of the spending cuts is overblown.

"I don't believe that sequestration is going to hurt anything," said James E. Evans, a Havelock resident.

The spending cuts aren't expected to have an immediate impact, but employees at FRC East have been told furloughs could begin as early as April.

A new poll by Elon University shows about 70 percent of North Carolinians are worried about the spending cuts.

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