Fiscal cliff could have impact in Charlotte

by: Jim Bradley Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The fiscal cliff may seem like something only being talked about in Washington, but there's a lot of concern about what's on the other side of that cliff for Charlotte.

Federal money trickles into nearly every nook and cranny of life in Charlotte -- police, schools and roads.  And all of them could be in danger of big cuts as the federal government tries to deal with its debt crisis.

“The implications on cities could be tremendous,” said Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx.

Foxx signed his name to a letter to Congress from the U.S. Council of Mayors. It warns that automatic spending cuts scheduled for the first of the year could "lead to economic conditions in 2013 that will probably be considered a recession."

One of those impacts could be cuts to money for teachers.

At the Charlotte Mecklenburg Association of Educators, Randolph Frierson estimates 2,000 education jobs could be lost statewide.

“Any way that doesn’t hit Charlotte Mecklenburg?” Eyewitness News asked.

“It will. It will,” Frierson said. “There's no way that it won't.”

Federal money for police could also be cut. In Charlotte, where federal grants have been used to pay for dozens of new officers in recent years, city leaders are already concerned.

“Any level of a cut or threat to that, I think, is a bad idea,” said Charlotte City Councilman Pat Cannon.

Future transit projects, which have already collected hundreds of millions of dollars in federal aid, could be put on hold too.

Foxx acknowledges some kind of cuts are coming, and said Charlotte won't be spared.

“I believe regardless of what happens with the fiscal cliff, there's going to be less money available for local governments,” he said.

Any possibility of cuts to police seemed to touch a nerve with the people Eyewitness News talked with Friday.

Foxx said he doesn’t think federal cuts would cause any officers to lose their jobs but will likely make it harder to expand the department.