Editor’s pen: vote no! $97 Million Tax Referendum Imposes Cruel Tax on Fayetteville Residents

In its wisdom (or lack thereof), the Fayetteville City Council is set to launch a marketing campaign for three bond referendums totaling $97 million that will appear on the November ballot in less than 60 days.
That’s not long for citizens to dig into the real unintended consequences and hardship that this increased tax debt will impose on the citizens of Fayetteville.

Members of the city council under Mayor Mitch Colvin have proven oblivious to fiscal responsibility, unresponsive to allegations of “conflict of interest” and the appearance of profiting from the spending of Fayetteville taxpayers’ money. . It’s become something of a team sport for Mayor Colvin and Fayetteville-PWC bond adviser Jonathan Charleston. Their mantra seems to be: sell, sell, sell! Sell ​​personal watercraft. Sell ​​the airport. Sell ​​citizens fake technology (ShotSpotter) and sell them the approval of bond referendums that will weigh them down financially for decades.

Our unsophisticated and inexperienced city council is their mechanism for hatching and executing these projects. While Colvin and Charleston’s assault on our wallets is not illegal or corrupt, it is certainly unethical, inappropriate and reeks of conflict of interest. It saddens me that several responsible, intelligent, honest and ethical members of the Council remain silent on this situation and are reluctant to speak out for fear of being labeled as racists and targeted by Cancel Culture.

As for the $97 million bond referendums – Fayetteville doesn’t need that kind of tax burden, or what they promise the money will deliver. Previous councils have provided services and infrastructure improvements adequately without raising the ad valorem tax rate on citizens. Need proof?

$60 million for public safety: Oh good? Previous city councils twice failed to save taxpayers money and improve public safety when they failed to cooperate with Cumberland County officials on a partnership agreement to build a joint 911 call center . Why? Ignorance, laziness, greed and that didn’t fit their political agendas.

Under previous advice with capable leadership, Fayetteville built four new fire stations and funded a fifth station without raising taxes or floating general obligation bonds. No one disputes the need for additional fire stations and upgrades to outdated, non-ADA compliant fire stations. However, other options include setting up fire stations offered as collateral while the city continues to fund as they go and receive a decent rate of funding based on market trends.

These options shouldn’t require a bond referendum to raise our property taxes for decades. Mayor Colvin, Charleston and council members conveniently ignored or failed to research these options. Again, this demonstrates that they are irresponsible stewards of taxpayers’ money. Here is more evidence:

$12 million housing bond: Vote No! This is socialism at its worst. Taxpayers’ ad valorem money should not be used to help others obtain housing. Socialism is when you tax everyone’s personal property and then redistribute that money to a small, select group of people that others cannot benefit from. Sound familiar? Our City Council and staff want to spend $12 million on homeownership programs and critical housing needs in Fayetteville when neither can define, qualify, or quantify need. This clearly illustrates the definition of madness and stupidity.

$25 million public infrastructure: Vote No! Here is another example of bad leadership. Mayor Colvin and council members are asking residents to blindly vote on major financial obligations before they have any idea or knowledge of how the money will be spent. And who will make the decisions? Fayetteville residents need to be careful. If this referendum is allowed to pass, it will tax city residents for 20 years and pour money into city coffers before the final list of priority projects is determined.

Currently, the city only funds sidewalks along major NCDOT thoroughfares. It receives matching funds for part of the road improvement plan approved by the NCDOT. At best, we should be aware of planned projects before asking citizens to vote to raise their taxes. And what about rainwater? There was no mention of this important need in the city.

The city council and staff will have less than two months to educate the Fayetteville electorate about the projects they plan to pursue with the proposed $12 million and $25 million. We haven’t seen any details of the referendum so far, so we suggest you vote against ALL bond referendums in the November ballot.
Previous councils funded and built the Keith Bates Pool at College Lakes Recreation Center, the Westover Recreation Pool, and the Lake Rim Park Pool. All without a tax hike or a floating bond referendum to raise property taxes for everyone in Fayetteville.

The devil is in the details. At the August 8 city council meeting, it was revealed that borrowing $97 million at 4.5% interest would add nearly $46 million more to the total price, for an overall cost of approximately $143 million over 20 years. Since then, the interest rate has risen and is expected to rise further before Fayetteville can borrow money. This means the increased taxes and cost of borrowing for Fayetteville homeowners will exceed what City Council and staff say.

In my opinion, the City of Fayetteville has a double edged opportunity to put the community on the right path, and both are coming on November 8th.
Vote No! on the $97 Million Referendum and Vote Yes! for the Vote for 6 referendum. This will restructure electoral districts and give ALL citizens a much larger voice in choosing their leadership. Under this voting program, each voter has six choices instead of the two we currently receive.

Thanks for the reading Up and coming every week.