City of Ogden, Utah, feels shutdown strain with thousands of furloughed workers

Utah city feels shutdown strain

Ogden, Utah — A welcome sign here says, "It pays to live in Ogden." But that's wishful thinking these days, considering how thousands of federal employees haven't been paid in weeks because of the government shutdown

Emalee Rausch is among those who haven't gotten a paycheck. Now, she's making food deliveries in a car with a broken heater so she can afford to buy her own groceries. She said she's only making about one-fourth of her paycheck.

Rauch normally works for the IRS, which along with the U.S. Forest Service, employs some 5,000 federal workers in downtown Ogden. At lunchtime, the streets and restaurants used to be packed.

Anna Davidson said business at her restaurant is down by half. She's already slashed employee hours and is now covering payroll with her personal savings.

"It's a loss, it's gone," she said. "This trickles out and affects everything."

Mayor Mike Caldwell said declining sales means a big drop in tax revenue. He's prepared to cut back city services if he has to. When asked how much this could impact the city financially, he said the hit could be in the "millions of dollars," adding it would be "devastating for a community our size."

In a red state that helped elect President Trump, many here support border security. They just never thought financing a border wall more than 800 miles to the south would hit so close to home.

Davidson said it's not worth it.

"Not at the expense of the American people," she said.

"I just want a job. Whatever happens to get me my job back I don't care, as long as I can work," Rauch added.