Up & Coming Weekly

January 22, 2019

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 11 of 32

WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM JANUARY 23-29, 2019 UCW 11 City of Fayetteville officials have come to an agreement with Cumberland County Commissioners on the short-term distri- bution of local sales tax revenues. A lot of money is at stake — $192,897,697 during fiscal year 2018 alone. City Council and county commissioners and their senior management staffs worked cooperatively to agree on a formula that will be in place for at least the next four years. e city preferred a longer-term agree- ment, but the county pointed to the upcom- ing 2020 U.S. census, which could change everything by altering population figures that guide the sales tax apportionment. State law gives county governments the responsibil- ity of divvying up sales tax receipts either by population or tax districts. Since 2003, the population formula has been in force locally. e so-called "Big Bang" annexation by Fayetteville of 40,000 residents 10 years ago came into play. e county won an agree- ment in which the city would sacrifice 50 percent of the tax revenues in annexed ar- eas for which the county agreed to continue the population dispersion method. A modified payback fund by which the city reimburses the county for annexed areas remains in effect. e revised plan continues the current 50-50 split of sales tax money from the annexations during year one. In the following three years, the mu- nicipalities would receive 60 percent of any new revenue. e county would get 40 percent. e county had cautioned the city that, if the two entities couldn't come to terms on the population distribution plan, commis- sioners would consider switching to the tax district formula. at would have cost the city of Fayetteville an estimated $5 million a year. And, the smaller towns would have suffered as well. While county government had the advan- tage, commissioners had to consider that most voters live inside the municipalities. "I think this is the best deal for the citizens of Fayetteville," said Mayor Mitch Colvin. Councilwoman Kathy Jensen noted that local governments will have to go back to the drawing board in a couple of years to negotiate a new agreement. Others pointed out that a significant deployment of Fort Bragg troops, unlikely as that might be, would reduce Fayetteville's population. Residential areas of the Army post are in the city. e current agreement expires at the end of this fiscal year. But County Manager Amy Cannon gave the city until the end of this month to agree on the revised distribution formula. City Council did so Jan. 14 — by unanimous vote. City and county agree on sales tax distribution plan by JEFF THOMPSON NEWS The city preferred a longer-term agreement, but the county pointed to the upcoming 2020 U.S. census, which could change everything by altering population figures that guide the sales tax apportionment. EVENTS As of this writing, seats for the remaining per- formances of Sweet Tea Shakespeare's "Sweeney Todd: e Demon Barber of Fleet Street" are selling fast. So, allow me to get right to the point: Call the box office at 910-420-4383 or visit www.sweet- teashakespeare.com for tickets. e show runs through Feb. 3, and you don't want to miss it. Sweet Tea Shakespeare's production of Stephen Sondheim's "Sweeney Todd" probably wouldn't be your first choice for a post-Christmas/pre-Val- entine's outing, but it should be. e talented cast running around the Fayetteville Pie Company is the right mix of fun and madness to balance out the macabre tale. e story is about London barber Benjamin Barker, who is wrongly imprisoned by Judge Tur- pin, who wants Barker's wife, Lucy. After 15 years, Barker returns, calling himself Sweeney Todd, and begins working as a barber over Mrs. Lovett's meat- pie shop on Fleet Street. Seeking revenge, Todd takes his razor to unsuspecting customers, biding his time until he can get the evil judge in his barber chair. You'll find no sympathy for Judge Turpin in this story. After driving poor Lucy to suicide, the judge takes the barber's young daughter, Johanna, as his ward. He locks her away, intending to marry her, and thinks she should be grateful for his kindness. Todd is a lunatic, for sure, but he has had 15 years in prison to plot his revenge, all the while growing ever more psychotic. Jeremy Fiebig, STS founder and artistic director, plays the title character with an eerie calmness — the kind that makes you a bit uncom- fortable in your seat. Aiding Todd in his revenge plot is the widow Lovett, played by Marie Lowe. Lovett has fancied the barber since before his imprisonment and sees not only a monetary benefit but also a romantic one to helping Todd dispose of the bodies. It is her idea to bake the victims into her meat pies. e secret ingre - dient boosts her business and has her dreaming of a retirement by the sea — with Todd. Lowe steals the show with her upbeat and en- ergetic delivery in a Cockney accent. She is so delightfully sinister, I found myself rooting for her character. But, in a tale about death, revenge and insanity can there really be a happily ever after? Not in this tale, which also has a few twists. No spoilers here, but the ending makes plain that one cannot profit from revenge. Director Medina Demeter pulls together a fantastic ensemble cast and crew to bring to life the tale with horror, excitement and entertaining music. e cast includes Aaron Alderman, Jennifer Czechowski and Joyce Borum. Heather Eddy plays Johanna and Tyler Graeper is her love-struck beau, Anthony. Allison Podlogar is Tobias Ragg. Gabriel Terry, Jackie Rednour-Hallman and Tohry Petty complete the ensemble. e Fayetteville Pie Company in Westwood Shopping Center lends its multilevel restaurant as the stage. It is an intimate experience that allows the creative efforts of STS to shine. e restaurant also provides phenomenal pies to audience members for this production as part of the admission price. For more information on the show or tickets, con- tact the STS box office at 910-420-4383 or visit www.sweetteashakespeare.com. Sweet Tea Shakespeare's 'Sweeney Todd' — oh, that's good! by APRIL OLSEN APRIL OLSEN, Contributing Writer. COMMENTS? Editor@ upandcomingweekly.com 910-484-6200. e talented cast running around the Fayetteville Pie Company is the right mix of fun and madness to balance out the macabre tale.

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