Actors and comedians know it. Accomplished cooks know it. Athletes certainly know it. Timing is everything. Responsible political leaders know it, too, which is why the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners chose not to place a bond referendum for parks and recreation capital projects on the ballot this November.
    To have done so would have doomed the initiative. Local residents are weary of taxes and they know with a certainty that passage of the bond referendum would involve a property tax hike.
Furthermore, aspects of the proposed joint bond issue concerned commissioners. It had been agreed at a joint city council/county commission meeting on April 8 that both governing bodies needed to know the staffing requirements and operational costs for each project and the plan for marketing the bond issue, as well as an agreed upon time for a bond issue.
    {mosimage}None of this information was presented to the board of commissioners. Nor was there any discussion about which jurisdiction would have responsibility for issuing bonds.
    Also, there was disparity between the projects as outlined in the Five Year Action Plan approved by the county commission in June 2006 and the projects outlined in the 2008 Parks & Recreation Advisory Commission recommendations. Cost estimates were significantly higher and the 2008 recommendations included projects that were not in the master plan.
    It is necessary now to take the time to address the important operating costs for each separate project, to resolve the disparities between the current recommendations and the master plan, to come to consensus on the marketing plan for a bond issue, and to determine the jurisdiction to have responsibility for issuing the bonds.
    Another alternative is for the City of Fayetteville to put the matter on the November ballot. That option is open until Aug. 6. All but one of the projects is within the city limits, and it would be entirely their prerogative to move forward with a bond issue, should the city council choose to do so.
    Cumberland County commissioners want an enhanced Fayetteville-Cumberland Parks and Recreation. We are aware of the disappointment felt by certain constituencies with the decision not to proceed with a bond referendum in November. However, when the due diligence has been completed, and the timing is right for success — that’s when the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners will act on this matter. To have acted precipitously on this important community initiative would have been irresponsible and would have doomed the issue to failure.
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