ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Furlough began Monday for 650,000 civilian U.S. Defense employees, a move the Pentagon says will save about $2 billion. But in the Albuquerque area alone, it means a multi-million dollar impact to economy.
More than 2,000 Kirtland Air Force Base employees are affected by the furloughs. They are now losing paid workdays and surrounding business say they're losing, too.
"From the senior leaders, most senior leaders in the Air Force, to our own Wing Commander here, nobody thinks this is a good idea," said Colonel Jeff Lanning, commander of the Mission Support Group at Kirtland Air Force Base.
On day one of federal furloughs, Kirtland's leaders say the impact is devastating.
"We're really breaking faith, the Air Force is breaking faith here," said Col. Lanning.
Through September 2013, 2,100 Kirtland AFB are being forced to take one extra day off each week for the next 11 weeks. The base says it means some work will slow down.
"Some entire organizations, our communications division is made up of all civilians and contractors, so all of those employees on the civilian side will be out," said Col. Lanning.
But for employees it also leaves a mark in their wallet. Kirtland says the furloughs will take $8 million out of the local payroll.
"That's going to have an impact to those folks personally, it will reduce their savings, perhaps the number of times they go out to eat, it will likely have an impact on the local economy," said Col. Lanning.
Local businesses are concerned as well. On Gibson Avenue, Chelsey's Wings and Burgers says tons of its business comes from the base, estimating that many customers come in two to three times a week. With their customers getting a pay cut, employees worry they'll feel the heat as well.
"So if they're losing 20 percent of their income and they can't go out to eat, well, we're the restaurant they come to, so that is definitely going to impact all of the employees here," said Miranda Wozniak, a waitress at Chelsey's Wings and Burgers.
Down the street, it's a concern for Pizza 9 as well.
"During our morning, that's where all the delivers come from is the base and the people on the base," said Marisa Alire, a shift leader at Pizza 9 on Gibson.
While the furloughs aren't planned to last longer than 11 weeks right now, the Pentagon says its next Federal budget starting in October 2013 could bring more of the same.
"It's something that's devastating, we know that, and we're going to try to minimize the impact on our employees while at the same time making sure that we get the mission done," said Col. Lanning.
Kirtland's furloughs do not affect uniformed air force personnel, Sandia Labs or the Department of Energy's operations on the base. About 7,000 Department of Defense civilian workers are estimated to be affected by the furloughs in New Mexico including about 1,400 workers at Holloman and Cannon Air Force Bases.
The Army's White Sands Missle Range is also affected.
Crews are on scene of a crash involving a pedestrian at Broadway and Lomas. Officials have closed eastbound Lomas at the intersection.
New Mexico honored a fallen hero Thursday as family, friends and law enforcement officers gathered for the funeral of Sandoval County Sheriff's Sergeant Robert Baron.
A Bernalillo County sheriff's deputy wounded in the line of duty spoke for the first time Thursday about her injury.
The International UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell is getting a makeover.
Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich have reignited a decade-old effort to seek federal protections for the Organ Mountains.
A rabies case has resulted in another family pet having to be euthanized.