01PubPenWhen the General Assembly is asked to entertain or introduce a bill that affects the citizens of a municipality, the legislative delegation assumes that the municipality’s leaders are in 100 percent agreement with the terms of the request. Otherwise, they would not want to risk alienating their constituents, and no one ever wants to be on the wrong side of bad legislation.

So, it would also be silly to think that prospective corporate entities scouting out Fayetteville/Cumberland County to locate their businesses or industries here would not be looking for the same assurances. Of course they would. And our community would fare much better in attracting industry if our City and County elected
officials were a little more sensitive about what is best for the
entire tax-paying community. 

Both City and County officials need to stop bragging publicly about how well they cooperate with each other and instead start demonstrating it. Actions (or inactions) always speak louder than words. They should demonstrate it by amicably settling the sales tax distribution issue; sensibly consolidating our 911 emergency call centers; supporting and encouraging each other’s economic development projects; and showing support for the Greater Fayetteville Chamber, the Downtown Alliance, the Fayetteville Convention, the Visitors Bureau and all other organizations whose mission is to promote and enhance the community. Visitors and prospective businesses and industries looking at us from the outside are not stupid, and they are not impressed. We must stop demonstrating that we are a community conflicted and fortified within personal agenda silos with a toxic contempt for and distrust of one another. Under these circumstances, you can be assured they will not locate here regardless of how many incentives or perks we offer them.

These corporate entities and prospective clients pay more attention to what they can see rather than what they hear. They look around our community and observe the condition of our downtown, the cleanliness of our streets and the availability of cultural amenities, but, more importantly, they look at our leadership and pay attention to the way our leaders interact with and react to one another. If we are not in harmony, and if the sense of disharmony is too conspicuous, you can be pretty much assured these prospective clients will not have the confidence to do business with us or to bring their companies here, investing millions of dollars in our community. 

Both City and County officials need to be more sensitive to these factors. Together, they need to ask the same questions and heed the answers: Is our community clean? Is it safe? Are our parks and public areas well groomed? In other words, what image are we projecting? Are we taking pride in our community? Many of the things that will enhance Fayetteville and Cumberland County’s image and move us forward are things that don’t cost money. Cooperation, respect and civility just to name a few. 

This is a very exciting time for our community and much is at stake. Let’s not let egos, turf battles and power plays diminish our opportunities. We have so much to gain through cooperation. Let’s get on with it. The time is now. Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

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