Up & Coming Weekly

April 25, 2023

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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4 UCW APRIL 26 - MAY 2, 2023 WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM STAFF PUBLISHER Bill Bowman Bill@upandcomingweekly.com OPERATIONS DIRECTOR Paulette Naylor accounting@upandcomingweekly.com MANAGING EDITOR April Olsen editor@upandcomingweekly.com ASSISTANT EDITOR Hannah Lee assistanteditor@upandcomingweekly. com ART DIRECTOR Courtney Sapp-Scott art@upandcomingweekly.com GRAPHIC DESIGNER Isaiah Jones graphics@upandcomingweekly.com STAFF WRITERS Alyson Hansen Ashley Shirley Kathleen Ramsey Chayenne Burns Katrina Wilson Aubrette Reid CONTRIBUTING WRITERS John Hood, Margaret Dickson, Pitt Dickey, Ben Sessoms, Tara Martin, R. Elgin Zeiber, Terry Herring, Cynthia Ross MARKETING ASSOCIATE Linda McAlister linda@upandcomingweekly.com SALES ASSISTANT Sheila Barker salesassistant@upandcomingweekly. com COVER Design by Courtney Sapp-Scott 2023 Dogwood Festival poster by Leah Moore Up & Coming Weekly www.upandcomingweekly.com 208 Rowan St. P.O. Box 53461 Fayetteville, NC 28305 PHONE: 910-484-6200- FAX: 910-484-9218 Up & Coming Weekly is a "Quality of Life" publication with local features, news and information on what's happening in and around the Fayetteville/Cumberland County community. Published weekly on Wednesdays, Up & Coming Weekly welcomes manuscripts, photographs and artwork for publication consideration, but assumes no responsibility for them. We cannot accept responsibility for the return of unsolicited manuscripts or material. Opinions expressed by contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. The publisher reserves the right to edit or reject copy submitted for publication. Up & Coming Weekly is free of charge and distributed at indoor and outdoor locations throughout Fayetteville, Fort Bragg, Pope Army Airfield, Hope Mills and Spring Lake. Readers are limited to one copy per person. © 2020 by F&B Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction or use of editorial or advertisements without permission is strictly prohibited. Various ads with art graphics designed with elements from: vecteezy.com and freepik.com. When the North Carolina House of Representatives approved its state budget plan a couple of weeks ago, the proposed pay raises for public employees, tax relief, and policy changes found within the budget bill commanded the lion's share of public attention. No surprise there. Still, please allow me to offer at least a kitty cat's share of atten- tion to another item in the House version of the budget: a transfer of $4.2 billion over the next two years from the state's General Fund to the State Capital and Infra- structure Fund. is repre- sents a wise investment in North Carolina's growth and quality of life. Yes, I know capital budget- ing is unlikely to produce big headlines or fuel passionate arguments on social media. But it's important. Bear with me and I'll do my best to explain why. To a large extent, state agencies, regional authori- ties, and local governments are in the property-manage- ment business. ey own and administer a vast array of buildings, facilities, public lands, and other infra- structure. Managed well, these assets provide on- going returns to taxpayers in the form of revenue, population inflows, and services rendered. Managed poorly, such proper- ties become distractions and money pits. e temptation to defer routine main- tenance and costly repairs is universal. I've done it. I bet you have, too. We delay getting our vehicle's oil changed or tires replaced. We keep putting off that dirty job or expensive retrofit, telling ourselves it can wait until it's more convenient or we have more money in the bank, only to regret it after a catastrophic failure. For public decision makers, the tempta- tion can be much stronger. At least I must confront the reality that if I let problems fester on property I own, I must foot the bill for the resulting catastrophe. Gov- ernment assets are owned by everybody — which means, in a practical sense, by nobody. ere's less incentive to plan ahead and economize. Today's managers won't necessarily be around to have to deal with tomorrow's catastrophic failure. And because future costs are spread across a large base of taxpayers, there isn't much of an incentive for an individual to worry about them. is is a classic collective-action prob- lem requiring an institutional remedy. In some cases, the right answer might be to sell public assets to private owners who will then face stronger financial incentives to manage them more efficiently. For such properties as school buildings, university classrooms, maintenance facili- ties, and critical infrastructure, however, a more palatable and practical remedy is to require governments to set aside dedicat- ed funds for repair and replacement. at's one of the reasons the North Carolina General Assembly voted several years ago to create the State Capital and Infrastructure Fund, or SCIF. By statute, it automatically receives a portion of state revenues and unspent money from a previous year's budget. at comes to $1.4 billion for FY 2023-24 and $1.5 billion for 2024-25. e House has voted to transfer an additional $1.3 billion into the SCIF over the next two years. Now, just to be clear, SCIF funds go to more than repairs and renovations. ey've been used to pay down North Carolina's bonded debt by hundreds of millions of dollars as well as construct new public build- ings and facilities. While it makes sense to finance some long-lived assets with borrowing — especially during periods when construction costs are surging — paying cash has benefits, too. It minimizes future interest payments and forces policy makers to be more disciplined about which capital investments to make, and when. at having been said, the repairs and renovations financed by SCIF represent prudent government at its best. I know why North Carolinians might just prefer to pocket state budget surplus- es as personal income, either as pay raises for public employees or higher take-home pay for taxpayers. But by ensuring the proper upkeep of state assets — and constructing new ones with cash instead of debt — we'll keep long-term capital costs lower while deliv- ering better-quality services. To that, I offer a loud meow. PUBLISHER'S PEN Letters to the Editor Do YOU have something to say? We want YOU to be heard! We want EVERYONE to be able to voice their opinions on current community events. Let us be a place to start much needed conversations. ALL VOICES WELCOMED! EMAIL: editor@upandcomingweekly.com CALL: 910-484-6200 JOHN HOOD, Board Member, John Locke Foundation. COMMENTS? Editor@upandcomingweekly.com. 910- 484-6200 Spend now, reap benefits later by JOHN HOOD

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