MANATEE -- The De Soto National Memorial would close, but many other local facilities would remain open in the event of a shutdown of the U.S. government.
“We’ll be open, the only thing it will affect is our passport division,” said R.B. “Chips” Shore, Manatee County clerk of the circuit court and comptroller.
“It will probably mean the passports will not get done as quickly as they do now,” Shore said Friday. “It’ll go from two weeks to six weeks, maybe.”
The rest of the court system would be unaffected, he said, with the exception of child support enforcement personnel, who rely on federal support.
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The superintendent for the national memorial, Scott Pardue, said the park, which faces the Manatee River west of Bradenton, would close.
But parks operated by the county and all of its offices would remain open, said county information outreach coordinator Nick Azzara.
Offices of U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, would remain open, said spokesman Max Goodman.
At least one staffer would be available to answer questions at Buchanan’s offices in Bradenton and Sarasota, and at his Washington, D.C., office as well, Goodman said.
At the heart of the 11th-hour talks was funding for Planned Parenthood.
“It’s an outrage to shut down the government over an extreme proposal that would deny millions of women Pap tests, breast cancer screenings and birth control,” said a statement from Barbara A. Zdravecky, president/chief executive officer, at Sarasota’s Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida.
“Attacking Planned Parenthood’s preventive health care hurts women, does not cut the deficit or fix the economy, and must be stopped,” she added.
Port Manatee would remain open, said Steve Tyndal, the port’s senior director of trade development and special projects. He didn’t know about the port’s customs officers, though.
“We’re all going to be here,” said a customs official who answered the phone at Port Manatee. Customs and border patrol personnel are considered essential, and therefore would be unaffected by any shutdown order, he explained.
A U.S. Coast Guardsman stationed near the beaches at 4530 124th St. Court W. said his office would remain open, too.
“We don’t know too much about it, but as far as everybody is concerned, whether we get paid or not, we’ll still be here,” he said.
IRS media relations specialist Michael Dobzinski, based in Plantation, said his office would close for an undetermined time.
“Monitoring of an IRS email account, and responding to inquiries during the furlough is prohibited by law, so I will not receive any email that may be sent to this address until operations resume,” he wrote.
A Washington, D.C., spokeswoman for FEMA, the federal agency that steps in during a disaster, said, “We still believe there is an opportunity to avoid a government shutdown, but are working to ensure that we are prepared for all possible scenarios.”
The University of South Florida Division of Sponsored Research’s existing grants would continue to be funded through electronic transfers, but that would not include contracts or grants paid by invoices.
“Grants.gov will continue to accept proposals, but those proposals will not be processed, nor will the Help Desk be available until the time the government resumes again,” said an email from Karen A. Holbrook, senior vice president for research innovation and global affairs, based in Tampa.
Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at (941) 745-7031.