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Listening Session Addresses Possible Fort Sill Job Reductions

<br><span style="font-size: x-small;" mce_style="font-size: x-small;"><p dir="LTR">A required change is forcing the Department of Defense to implement the Budget Control Act of 2011.</p> <p dir="LTR">For the U.S. Army, the impact is a reduction of 80,000 active duty soldiers by the end of Fiscal Year 2017.</p> <p dir="LTR">So, what does that mean for Fort Sill?</p> <p>Mechell Dixon attended a meeting this afternoon that address the issue.</p></span>

This listening session at Fort Sill Army Post lived up its name.

About 100 people listened as state and Lawton officials discussed how important the post is to the community.

"Right now we get about $2 billion dollars a year from Fort Sill being here. By 2017, that number is going to increase by $3 billion," says Retired Master General Toney Stricklin, chairman of the Lawton Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce.

The post could be forced to cut 4,700 soldier and civilian jobs by the end of Fiscal Year 2017 because of the Budget Control Act of 2011.

Lawton officials say if that happens it could devastate the economy.

"'What that means over a six year period of time is $5,560,000 this community would otherwise have in it, will be taken away. And we will not gain," Stricklin added.

Following presentations by people representing eight different agencies, coordinators welomed public comments and questions.

While no one came forward it was a different story after the meeting.

"The major question was how many, definitely, how many and when. Those would be the two main questions that any who came here would want to know," says Vera Oldham, owner of the Silver Spoon Kitchen & Bakeshop.

"We've gone through quite a bit with the sequester already and the impacts of budgets have already impacted us here. So, any additional cuts we're gonna already be sensitive to and we're looking to see what that means," says Phil Sperling, a Fort Sill civilian worker.

Mechell Dixon... KFDX 3 News.

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