I moved from Jacksonville, Fla., to Fayetteville in 1996 due to a career change. Upon my arrival here, I began a search for the community in the Atlanta area that I felt would best serve my family’s needs and interests.
Among the qualities that I looked for were, first and foremost, good schools and a safe environment, followed by an involved and energetic community.
I believed then and still believe that Fayetteville was the right choice for my family. I am proud to call this place home.
However, like numerous cities across the nation, the city of Fayetteville has some room for improvement. It will require all of us coming together to make the tough decisions, so we come out of the economic recession ready to perform.
Although the Pinewood Studios announcement is very exciting, we must figure out how to provide fire protection after the annexation of the land into Fayetteville’s city limits.
So how are we going to pay for this increased protection? It could cost the city well into the millions of dollars to build a new station, add trucks, equipment and train personnel (not to mention annual operating expenses) — funding we don’t have.
One potential and possibly controversial option is to merge all of our fire protection with the county. This option would lessen our fiscal responsibly of protecting the Pinewood project and the huge surrounding area and save Fayetteville the multi-million dollar expense and annual cost.
Our city budget lacks funds. Our weak economy has stressed all areas of government and Fayetteville was not immune.
The city addressed this with cut-backs on hours, personnel and early retirements for our city workers. In fact, several of our key city employees are part time – our city manager does a phenomenal job, but we can only afford for him to work part-time to address our city’s issues.
With proper leadership on the city council and a pro-business stance, we can work on building our tax base and allowing city workers to address issues quicker and be more accessible if full-time.
If you drive through the city, you will notice several empty office buildings. The city council should look for more options to incentivize new businesses to move to Fayetteville. Filling our empty buildings or re-developing those sites will make our city shine even more and put more people to work.
Crime in the Pavilion has certainly become an issue. We can address this issue by increasing the presence of our police and the newly formed auxiliary police, reaching out for business input, increase citizens’ awareness along with a strong leadership voice from our elected city government.
Once again, our city budget isn’t where it needs to be to finance more police in the very near-term. Four years to full staffing is a long time to wait. With our increased crime presence, and with our expanding city limits, we need to re-evaluate our budget and make some critical decisions.
Having spoken of my pride and love for Fayetteville and my hopes for an even greater community, I am at this time announcing my proposed run for the Fayetteville City Council.
I feel that I am qualified for this office. My record of leadership and accomplishments in church, 28-year military career in combat and humanitarian roles, aviation safety inspector and civilian positions in which I have served show that serving is an important part of my life.
I am a hard worker, respectful listener and determined in my ability to make a difference. I ask for your vote on Nov. 5 so I can make our ideas bring about an even better Fayetteville.