Local News

City and county disagree on sales tax receipt distribution

07Tax image 3North Carolina has a lower-than-average state sales tax rate of 4.75 percent, but actual combined sales tax rates are higher than average when local sales taxes from the state’s 322 local jurisdictions are taken into account. Cumberland County’s combined rate is 7 percent, which is a higher tax rate than 56 percent of North Carolina localities. Taxable sales in Cumberland County for fiscal year 2017 totaled approximately $4 billion, which represented a 5 percent increase over fiscal year 2016. 

The way sales tax receipts are distributed among local governments has been a contentious issue the last year and a half. State law says county governments choose how to divide the money based either on property taxes or population. An interlocal agreement between Cumberland County and the municipalities dates to 2003 and states sales tax receipts would be shared based on population. 

In 2005, Fayetteville annexed 42,000 county residents and 27 square miles of land, provoking the county board of commissioners to consider changing the way sales tax revenues are divided between the county, the city and towns. The county would get more money under the property tax formula and less under the population method, while the city and towns would get less with property taxes and more with population. 

The various jurisdictions eventually agreed to keep dividing the money based on population, with the city of Fayetteville reimbursing the other towns one-half of the additional sales tax revenue they get from annexed areas. Mayor Mitch Colvin has noted that most of the retail sale of goods and services take place in Fayetteville. 

The 2003 contract, which has been amended a couple of times, expires the end of June 2019, and leaders have tried to reconcile their differences since early 2017. “This has been a lingering issue,” Colvin said during a recent city council committee meeting. 

City Manager Doug Hewett came up with a proposal to renew the arrangement for 10 years. “The county wants certainty and a long-term agreement,” he said. The committee of five council members agreed to it. 

Beginning in year two, reimbursements made by the city to the smaller towns would be gradually reduced and would end in year six. Reimbursements to county government would continue as currently calculated over the first five years, after which repayments to the county would be capped at the dollar amount paid in year five. 

Fayetteville City Council and the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners each have internal subcommittees studying probable solutions to the sales tax allocation. They haven’t met publicly as a combined group in more than a year. 

Tax revenue reimbursements of $86 million have been made by the city to the county and small towns since 2004. 

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Alzheimer’s disease takes a toll on city government

 06Jay Reinstein 4 Assistant City Manager Jay Reinstein, 57, is leaving his post with the city of Fayetteville this week after five years on the job. He has been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, which affects people under 65. Early-onset Alzheimer’s, sometimes known as younger-onset Alzheimer’s, is a form of dementia. It means a person has a progressive and sometimes chronic brain condition that causes problems with thinking, behavior and memory. 

  Dementia itself is not a disease, but a syndrome; its symptoms are common to several brain diseases. Alzheimer’s gets worse over time. But medications sometimes slow that decline and help with symptoms such as behavior changes. More than 5 million Americans have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. It’s what most people think of when they hear “dementia.” 

  “I will go out on family medical leave and use my accumulated sick time through April or May of 2019,” Reinstein said. 

  He is not yet eligible for retirement but has had time to educate himself about the benefits available to him through his employer. Disability insurance provides income for a worker who can no longer work due to illness or injury. 

  “Two months prior to leaving the city, I will apply for short-term disability through the NC State Retirement System,” Reinstein said. “Then, about 12 months after getting approved for short-term disability, I will apply for long-term disability until I can officially retire in 2022.” 

  “Tell me, doctor, how long do I have?” That, says Dr. Gregory A. Jicha, M.D., is the first question patients ask after receiving a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. Jicha did a comprehensive study of 1,300 patients and found that the majority of people with early-onset Alzheimer’s have sporadic Alzheimer’s disease. It is the most common form of the illness and is not attributed to genetics. The average amount of time that people live with Alzheimer’s disease is approximately seven years, according to the Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders. Life expectancy varies from person to person. 

  Like many people with early-onset Alzheimer’s, receiving an accurate diagnosis is important. Reinstein said the first clue that there was a problem was a day several months ago when, on the way home from work, he drove two doors past his home before realizing it. 

  “It’s the little things,” he said, like “what dresser drawer the underwear is in.” Memory issues don’t occur all the time, he added, “but there is a lot of frustration.” 

  “I’m really a workaholic; it’s going to be difficult not being a leader.” 

  City Manager Doug Hewett said, “Jay is an asset to our organization. His care and concern for others is evident in everything he does. We will all miss our daily interactions with him, and we wish him all the best as he transitions from public service.” 

  Reinstein has been dealing with the realities of his illness long enough to have come to grips with it. He noted it’s his caretakers who will struggle over time. He has tried to make it easier for his family by saying he doesn’t want sympathy – he wants support. He looks forward to spending time with his family and doing volunteer work. He is already involved with the Alzheimer’s Association and has organized a team that raised $23,000 for research. 

  Filling Reinstein’s position won’t be easy for city. “I plan to fill the position temporarily with an internal interim appointment and likely won’t fill the position for several months,” Hewett said. 

Photo: Jay Reinstein

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Who you gonna call?

05Storm DamageCumberland County residents whose homes were damaged by Hurricane Matthew now have a reliable source of information for cleaning assistance. The Home Cleanup Hotline is 1-800-451-1954. The hotline is provided by Crisis Cleanup, a national organization that helps coordinate the work of volunteer organizations with survivors whose homes have been affected by natural disasters. Residents can ask for assistance from reputable relief agencies that can assist with services such as cutting fallen trees, tarping roofs and removing debris such as drywall, insulation and flooring. The services are free and are completed by volunteers who provide the necessary tools and equipment. 

For information about resources that can assist with these services, visit co.cumberland.nc.us/community-resource-directory1. 

Florence caused a sticky situation at one local shop 

Hurricane Florence caused a lot of damage to local businesses as well as dozens of homes. Rocket Fizz, the popular candy store in Marketfair Shopping Center, survived the storm, but much of its inventory did not. 

Co-owner Ann Sims said she lost a thousand pounds of bulk candy, which melted when the power went out, including 100 flavors of salt water taffy. Taffy must be kept in a dry, cool environment. Her store was anything but dry and cool during the three days it was without electricity. 

“We iced down the chocolate in coolers and took some of it home,” as the hurricane approached, she said. It was next to impossible to clear out the nearly 2,400 different items in the shop, which is much more than a candy store. 

Rocket Fizz sells a lot of Halloween treats this time of year, from candy corn to Pez, and Chuckles to Hershey bars. It also carries a variety of 400 craft soda pops, tin signs, replica concert posters and novelty items such as retro memorabilia and prank gifts. Sims said the average sale is $12 for a four-pack of soda and bags of candy. “Selection and service is what we pride ourselves in,” she said. 

  Rocket Fizz is located next to the Marketfair AMC Theatre. 

Baseball team name to be revealed 

  Minor league baseball officials had hoped to announce the name of the local Houston Astros affiliate, which will begin playing ball in Fayetteville in the spring, over a month ago. The approach of Hurricane Florence caused postponement of the announcement. The Fayetteville Baseball Club says it will unveil its team name on Sunday, Nov. 4. 

  Team memorabilia, T-shirts and ball caps will also be available at the name reveal event. 

  Team President Mark Zarthar told Up & Coming Weekly that at least three firms have indicated serious interest in sponsoring naming rights of the new stadium, which is under construction on Hay Street. 

  Houston acquired the Advance Single-A minor league team when it played in California. The Carolina League had indicated an interest in expanding by adding two additional clubs to the league. One moved from California to Fayetteville, the other to Kinston. 

Busking comes to town 

  Busking has become popular in communities across the country. And now, Cool Spring Downtown District, in conjunction with Sweet Tea Shakespeare, has launched a busker program for local artists and performers. Sidewalk entertainers perform anything that people find entertaining – usually for money – singing, clowning, juggling, musical performances, fortunetelling, animal tricks, dance and much more. Organ grinders were among the original buskers. 

  Sweet Tea Shakespeare presents accessible performances of Shakespearean and other classical plays complete with delicious food, beer, wine and its signature sweet tea. 

  “Sweet Tea Shakespeare is delighted to partner with Cool Spring Downtown District to pilot its busker program, said Jeremy Fiebig, STS artistic director. “We have live music built into our culture, and it’s a natural extension of what we do to help build this exciting new program.” 

  Ten busking spots have been designated throughout the downtown district for performers selected by STS. Registration is required. Performance schedules are Thursday through Saturday evenings from 6-10 p.m. and weekends from 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. 

County Employee Health Fair 

  The annual Cumberland County Employee Wellness Fair is set for Oct. 22-26 at the Crown Expo Center, 301 E. Mountain Dr. About 400 county employees are expected to attend the fair each day. The county has contracted with Novant Health to operate the events. 

  During the annual wellness fair, Novant will screen employees for risk factors such as high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes. Vendors will provide employees with information on topics such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, weight management, hearing, vision, tobacco cessation, physical activity, nutrition, stress management, behavioral health, safety and more. The goal of the fair is to encourage county employees to lead a healthier lifestyle and improve their overall health status. 

  Hours will be 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 22 and 24 and 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Oct. 23, 25 and 26. 

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Leadership matters: Business 2 Business Expo

01coverUAC101718001Where do leaders go for inspiration? For new ideas? To grow? To get refreshed? For the past three years, the Fayetteville Business 2 Business Expo & Refresh Leadership Simulcast has provided all these things and more to local leaders. Oct. 24, Express Employment, the Greater Fayetteville Chamber, the Better Business Bureau, Ramada Plaza and Up & Coming Weekly invite local leaders to the 4th Annual Fayetteville Business 2 Business Expo. It’s a daylong event packed with insight from national and local leaders, learning and networking opportunities, vendors and fun, and it lasts from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. There is one ticketed event, the keynote luncheon, and the rest of the day’s offerings are free. 

Express Employment has hosted this annual event on a national level for eight years, and the Fayetteville business community has benefited from the event for almost as long. 

“Express Employment and the Greater Fayetteville Chamber are making the day inclusive by rolling in the Chamber’s Coffee Club and Business After Hours into the expo, and it ends with a reception,” said Up & Coming Weekly Publisher Bill Bowman. “We will have food, prizes and giveaways – and a lot of networking. Local businesses will be there with employees and will have vendor booths. We will have a panel of local experts, business people and leadership authorities so the attendees can ask questions.” 

The day starts with the Chairman’s Coffee Club at the Ramada Plaza at 8 a.m. This business networking breakfast has rotating local guest speakers from Cumberland County, the city of Fayetteville, Fort Bragg and Cumberland County Schools. The speakers discuss key issues in the community each month. 

The Refresh Leadership Simulcast follows at 9 a.m. with a welcome and then a simulcast featuring the day’s three speakers. 

Mark King is the first speaker. King is an innovation expert and the former president of Adidas North America. His simulcast begins at 9:05 a.m. The topic is “Lessons in Leadership: Competing with Creativity.” In it, King will share how to inspire a workforce of creativity and confidence. He’ll encourage leaders to, by coming to work with big dreams, vision and energy, create things consumers won’t believe are possible. 

At 10:15 a.m., retired U.S. Army Gen. Colin Powell, who also served as U.S. secretary of state from 2001-2005, will speak on the topic of taking charge. Using his experiences as a leader on the world stage, Powell will lay down exactly what it takes to be a leader during times of change and crisis. 

Powell was the first African-American chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Author of two books, Powell crafted and articulated the U.S. position on the world stage. 

He’ll share his insight on efforts to stabilize a troubled world and discusses the diplomatic and leadership skills needed to transform unstable regions into havens where societies and cultures flourish. 

At 11 a.m., Paralympian Josh Sundquist will give a talk titled “1MT1MT: One More Thing, One More Time.” That was his motto during his training for the Paralympics: One more thing, one more time. 

This athlete and bestselling author is both humorous and inspirational. He motivates audiences to elevate performance in sales, customer service, quality, leadership and more. 

The simulcast portion of the event ends at 11:45 a.m. The breakfast and simulcast are both free to attend. 

There is a special ticketed event following the simulcast. Starting at noon, the Keynote Leadership Luncheon features speaker and innovative authority in sales and management marketing Kyle Burrows. There will also be entertainment by special guests – the Fayetteville Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society, the Cross Creek Chordsmen. 

Burrows’ speech is titled “Becoming Famous and Fabulous.” 

“It is based on observations,” Burrows said. “It is a simple mental tool that helps people and organizations find their sweet spot in a world that is always changing. It will provide a deeper dive into becoming famous and fabulous and will help attendees walk through the process of a leadership principle that is three-pronged.” 

Sponsorships and vendor spaces are still available. To become a sponsor or purchase individual tickets for the luncheon, visit http:// b2bshoplocal.com. The afternoon and evening events are free and feature several leadership workshops with local leaders and a panel of experts. 

Kent Hill, director of the Center for Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Small Business at Fayetteville Technical Community College, started his career working in the marketing departments of The Coca-Cola Co. and Kellogg’s. His career is divided almost evenly between working for blue-chip corporations and cofounding several successful (and a couple not-so-successful) startups. His leadership workshop topic is “Branding is Everything. Everything is Branding.” 

There has never been a marketplace as competitive as the one we live and work in today,” said Hill. “And it will be even tougher tomorrow. To succeed in this hostile and volatile environment, you need to see and understand the entirety of your business from the customer’s experience.” 

In this fast-paced workshop, Hill will share some secrets to keeping pace with your customers’ expectations – and a step ahead of your competitors. 

President of the Better Business Bureau of the Coastal Carolinas, John D’Ambrosio, is also a speaker for one of the leadership workshops. He will be doing a track talking about integrity and research in business. It will include the importance of having confidence in businesses and organizations. 

  “What I hope to impart is how important honesty and integrity are to establishing trust in the marketplace,” D’Ambrosio said. “Businesses that care about customers and put them first is what is important in the marketplace today because there are so many choices out there. Knowing how to lead your business in that direction is vital.” 

    PWC Chairman Darsweil Rogers is one of the panel experts. For him, events like this matter – a lot. 

    “The future of our community is in the hands of our leadership, and we are at a point in time where we have to rethink and even re-envision where the community is heading,” Rogers said. “There is so much technological change taking place right now, and with the proper vision, we can leapfrog other communities. That’s is why I am excited to participate in events like this. 

 “Opportunities like Refresh Leadership let us talk with leaders about having a broader vision. Leaders can say we want to be a smart community, but we need to talk about what do we need to do to make that happen. ... This idea of having a bigger vision needs to be a groundswell.  

   “Research Triangle Park didn’t just happen; it required leadership at the state level, and Duke, Wake and Orange counties had to come together and re-envision that community. 

   “We can do something similar here.” 

   The event concludes with an after-hours reception. Visit B2Bshoplocal.com to learn more, to register for the events or to purchase tickets for the luncheon. 

 

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FTCC designated as National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Two-Year Education

15cyber Fayetteville Technical Community College’s Systems Security &Analysis program is a concentration under the information technology major. This curriculum provides individuals with the skills required to analyze and implement effective, comprehensive information security controls. Upon completion of the program, students receive an associate degree in System Security & Analysis and will be well equipped to enter the growing field of cyber security.

Alumni of this program have gone on to work for companies including the city of Fayetteville, Dell, and Cisco. 

The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security have designated FTCC as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Two-Year Education. This designation is known by the acronym CAE2Y. FTCC’s Systems Security & Analysis program offers students a diverse educational opportunity by exposing them to materi- als from several academic partners, such as Cisco, CompTIA, EC-Council, Palo Alto, and Red Hat. 

The Systems Security & Analysis department is also a member of the National CyberWatch Center, a Data Privacy Day champion, and a National Cyber Security Awareness Month champion. The Department partners with the Fayetteville/Fort Bragg chap- ter of the Information Systems Security Association. 

Fayetteville Tech offers a broad range of programs of study lead- ing to the award of associate degrees, certificates and diplomas. Many educational choices are available in the field of computer and information technology, where graduates can seek employment as designers, developers, testers, support technicians, system administrators and programmers. Specialty areas include business intelligence, database services, healthcare informatics, security and more. 

Specific program areas to explore at FTCC include CISCO Networking Academy, Computer Programming & Development, Cyber Defense Education Center, Database Management, Digital Media Technology, Game & Interactive Programming, Mobile & Web Programming, Network Management, PC Support & Services, Systems Security & Analysis, and Simulation & Game Development. Within each of these program areas are additional specialty programs of study, which allow students broad choices for expansion in becoming well equipped for a great career in the computer technology field. 

Fall eight-week classes begin Oct. 18, and the spring semester begins Jan. 14. For students inter- ested in pursuing an exciting career in a high- demand field, FTCC is the smart choice for educa- tion in computer and information technology. Visit www.faytechcc.edu to apply now and begin the enrollment process. 

For more information about the program, visit www.faytechcc.edu/academics/computer-information-technology-programs/systems-security-analy- sis. Call 910-678-8509 or email herringc@faytechcc. edu with questions about pursuing Systems Security & Analysis education at FTCC. 

FTCC’s Cyber Defense Education Center also has information concerning the program, ISSA meetings and other current events. Visit www.faytechcc.edu/ academics/computer-information-technology-pro- grams/cyber-defense-education-center to access that information. 

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