Fayetteville City Councilman Jim Arp thinks it’s time Fayetteville built a new city hall. The three-story city offices at 433 Hay St. are undergoing $4.5 million in renovations to carve out additional office space. City Hall was opened in 1992. Arp has mentioned his idea at least twice in public meetings recently.
“We ought to find space for a larger building outside the immediate downtown area,” he said. He cited Harnett County’s government complex, which was built away from the congested downtown area of Lillington, the county seat. The future baseball stadium across from City Hall on Hay Street is going to put public parking in the vicinity at a premium.
A city-owned parking lot adjacent to the train station will be lost to developments associated with the ballpark. City Council rejected an idea from City Manager Doug Hewett that a multi-million dollar parking garage be built behind City Hall. Arp’s idea for a relocated city hall hasn’t gotten any traction from colleagues.
Bright Future for Industrial Vocations
Not all wellpaying jobs require a four-year college degree. Cities across North Carolina will need an estimated 700 building inspectors over the next couple of years, officials say. Many experienced employees who’ve had long careers in local government are retiring. Fayetteville Deputy City Manager Kristoff Bauer fears there may not be enough qualified people to replace them.
“These folks earn good wages,” Bauer said. Building, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, heating and air conditioning inspectors earn $30,000 a year to start. Experienced level-three inspectors make $50,000 plus a year. They are responsible for all aspects of commercial and residential building plan review on new construction, alterations, modifications and additions to existing structures; and inspections on general construction, plumbing, heating, mechanical, and electrical installations. “We have to get them trained now,” Bauer said.
That’s where Fayetteville Technical Community College comes in. “We provide the workforce development pipeline,” said Stefanie Schroeder, FTCC’s dean of corporate and industry training. The city has not developed “a succession training program” with FTCC, according to Schroeder, but the college stands ready to help. FTCC has curriculum and continuing education programs in the trades and also taps into “a strong skill-set of soldiers” at Fort Bragg who are leaving the service, Schroeder added. Fayetteville Interim Inspections Division Director Michael Bailey talks with FTCC student groups as time allows. Bailey said the City of Fayetteville currently employs 25 inspectors, many of whom will be retiring soon.
Fayetteville Technical Community College Approved for VA Yellow Ribbon Program
FTCC has been approved by the Department of Veterans Affairs to participate in the Yellow Ribbon G.I. Bill Education Enhancement Program. The agreement permits FTCC and the VA to provide matching funds for tuition expenses that exceed either the annual maximum cap for private institutions or the resident tuition and fees for a public institution. The institution can contribute up to 50 percent of those expenses and VA will match the same amount. The objective is to cover all or a portion of the outstanding amount of established charges not covered under the Post 9/11 GI Bill. FTCC will be involved from August 1, 2017 to July 31, 2018. Visit www.benefits.va.gov/GIBILL/yellow_ribbon/Yellow_Ribbon_Info_Schools.asp to learn more.