There’s a lot going on in Cumberland County these days. 2010 was a busy year and 2011 and beyond looks to hold some interesting twists and turns as well.
Outgoing Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Billy R. King and incoming chairman Kenneth Edge share their thoughts on where we’ve been and where we are headed.
UCW: What was the county’s biggest accomplishment this past year?
King: Overall, the last 12 months have been successful. First of all, we were able to reduce the property tax rate to the revenue neutral rate of 74 cents per $100 valuation. We encountered some bumps in the road, but we faced them head on and overcame them. One of those bumps was the state mandate to take over child support enforcement in the county, which we did by creating a new separate county Child Support Department that now employs more than 60 people.
UCW: What do you see as the biggest challenge(s) facing the county in 2011 and how are you planning on dealing with them?
Edge: We are facing tremendously challenging times as a country, state and county. The biggest challenge facing the county in 2011 is the unknown of what the state legislature will do about its budget. As the state cuts its budget, we may face additional mandates and have to take on increased services. We are better off than many other counties and have weathered the recession through responsible governance and careful planning, which we will continue to do in 2011.
UCW: What can county residents look forward to in the next fi ve years from the Cumberland County government?
Edge: In January, the commissioners and management will begin a strategic planning process to look at our mission and vision statements, and to establish priorities for 2011 and future years. Challenges will continue and opportunities will always exist as the year progresses and the years pass. Decisions must be made on what is affordable and sustainable with our revenue resources.
UCW: There has been a lot of buzz about BRAC coming to the area. How do you see that impacting the community and services that the county offers?
Edge: The impact of BRAC will include an increased tax base, more jobs resulting in more traffi c on our roads, and the possible need for more schools.
UCW: Are we ready?
Edge: We really won’t know until the bulk of the new residents begin arriving. Only then will we know school enrollment and if we need additional facilities.
UCW: Are there any issues that still need to be worked out and what are they?
Edge: Transportation through Spring Lake is an issue facing the state and the Department of Transportation.