Local News

As State Sorts Out Budget Woes, Cumberland County Faces Money Crisis

Posted February 8, 2002

— The state could use extra money right now, but it turns out the budget woes are not just at the top. Cumberland County is in the middle of a money crunch.

Jeffrey Light has lived in the Ashton Forest section of Cumberland County for 11 years, but soon his neighborhood could be annexed into Fayetteville.

"When I moved here, I didn't want to move in the city. I had my choice," he said.

During the last seven years, the city has annexed 20-square miles. Now, some county leaders say that is coming back to haunt them.

"Because the city of Fayetteville has been annexing at a very aggresive schedule and taking portions of the county into the city, the county has lost quite a bit of revenue over the last few years," County Commissioner Tal Baggett said.

The county is considering a new way to distribute sales tax revenues, which would give the county an extra $1.7 million next fiscal year and take more than $5 million from the eight cities in the county.

"Every county has the right to determine how their sales tax is going to be divided, we're just trying to do the best for citizens in the county," Baggett said.

"The county has to take care of the recreation, parks and fire departments. They still need that money," homeowner Andy Anderson said.

But Fayetteville Mayor Marshall Pitts says the city needs that money too. Fayetteville stands to lose the most sales tax revenue, close to $4 million.

"We would have to make some major adjustments and so I'm hoping it doesn't come to that," Pitts said.

Pitts said some of those adjustments may be in the area of hiring or putting upcoming projects on hold, but he said it is way too soon to know what will exactly be impacted. Pitts, as well as mayors from the other seven municipalities, will meet with commissioners on Tuesday to discuss the issue.

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