02handshake 2009195 1920 It’s time for our community to give metro government a second thought. We need to have that serious conversation about the future of our community. We are growing at breakneck speed, desperately trying to find our place in the 21st century.

Yes, we are making progress, but not at the pace we could if everyone in the city and county governments were working together for the betterment of all residents — regardless of where citizens live, their economic status, race or political affiliation. Decades have passed, and other North Carolina cities have grown and prospered while Fayetteville and Cumberland County have all too often acquiesced into mediocrity. We deserve better.

Recently, our Cumberland County legislative delegation met with Fayetteville City Council — without our senators, of course, who obviously had more important things to do than meet with constituents. Think about what priority Cumberland County has with them. The purpose of this meeting was to hear what the city’s priorities are and find out how to assist our leadership in moving the city forward.

It’s a great idea — except that a similar meeting will be held separately with our elected Cumberland County commissioners. And therein lies the problem. The dirty little secret that’s not a secret at all is our city and county operate as separate and divided agencies to the detriment and peril of the residents. Sure, in public they both claim emphatically that they work closely together in cooperation and respect. However, their rhetoric and actions reflect otherwise.

This no doubt frustrates our state legislators, who could accomplish much more in Raleigh on behalf of our community if unity, cooperation and a common vision were present. After all, our state elected officials represent all the residents and rightfully refuse to be referees in local conflicts. The result? Little gets done on our behalf, and our community suffers.

A perfect example is the ongoing situation concerning a centralized and consolidated 911 center. Everyone agrees we need it and acknowledges the economic benefits it would bring to the community, yet our two divisive governments can’t agree on where it should go or who should run it. And it’s all to the detriment of local residents who deserve the very best services when it comes to health and safety. Yet the center is not forthcoming, and taxpayers are picking up the tab for such inefficiency, delays and procrastination.

A metro government may not solve all the problems, but it would be a step in the right direction. It’s difficult to ask our state legislators to be effective in Raleigh when they are relegated to representing and serving two conflicting entities.

I know this conversation may be futile, but what would be the harm in having a joint public hearing or town hall meeting on this subject? Let’s get the topic of metro government out in the open and see how the public feels about it. 

Education and awareness may be the only things needed to assist our electeds in doing what is best for all citizens. What do we have to lose? Besides, if metro government is not in our future, maybe electing responsible and responsive county commissioners and city councilmen is.

We’ll see.

Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

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