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Cumberland County preparing to roll out mobile app for better residential engagement


Cumberland County residents will soon be getting an app where they can pay bills, apply for county jobs and learn about county services, County Manager Clarence Grier told county commissioners Thursday. 

Grier said he expects the app will roll out no later than mid-June in tandem with a budget initiative “that will also provide greater flexibility for citizens to engage with the county.” 

Here’s everything you need to know about Thursday’s Cumberland County Board of Commissioners agenda session: 

Fiscal year 2025 strategies

Grier gave a brief presentation on the county’s budgetary strategic initiatives for fiscal year 2024-25, which begins July 1 and ends June 30 of next year. A budgetary strategic plan is a requirement of the Government Finance Officers Association award program, which the county is applying for, he said. 

Cumberland County received the association’s Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for its fiscal year 2023-24 budget for the first time in over two decades last year.

The strategic plan was broken up into five categories:

  • A healthy and safe community
  • Quality governance
  • Sustainable growth and development
  • Environmental stewardship
  • Culture and recreation

Grier emphasized these goals are not new to the county, with ongoing projects like the Homeless Support Center and improvements to the Ann Street Landfill already addressing many of the needs outlined in the strategic plan.

“The only reason why we put it in this format is because, like I said, it was required for the budget award,” Grier said. “They’re looking at that very stringently this upcoming year, and after we got that award last year, we don’t want to submit it again and have them say, ‘No, you can’t.’” 

The only improvement commissioners suggested came from Commissioner Jimmy Keefe, who asked whether the county could find a way to prioritize technological improvements. Grier then announced the new county app, which Keefe said he was surprised but excited about.

The board unanimously approved placing the strategic plan on the consent agenda for its Monday meeting.

Doubts on gas

General Manager for Natural Resources Amanda Bader asked the board to consider approving an increased contract amount to make improvements to the county landfill’s gas collection and control system.

The issue centered on the county’s contract with Cargill, the company that buys the methane naturally produced by the landfill. With Bader requesting an extra $324,198 for a total price tag of $940,683.37, Keefe expressed concerns about how much money the county was spending for seemingly little benefit. 

“We’re asking for almost $1 million to capture methane to sell to them,” he said. “Are they paying us over $1 million?” 

Bader said Cargill wasn’t due to gas price fluctuations, noting that the county has not generated as much revenue from the sales this year as it budgeted for. The price has recently fluctuated anywhere from $9 to $2 per unit, she said. 

“You have asked about gas value over and over, and we hear you,” Bader said. “We have been talking about options to present to you later about gas values.” 

Chairman Glenn Adams said any contract with Cargill should address the volatility of the market. According to Bader, the county’s current contract expires in October 2026, and the county must notify Cargill six months before that if it intends to renew. 

“There’s a lot of things kind of coming together at this time,” she said. “One of those things is the bipartisan infrastructure law. That brings in some funding for gas systems, which would allow the county to be able to develop some of their own capital cost with grant dollars, potentially, rather than us having to go to a third-party developer.” 

Keefe told Bader he simply wants to ensure the county maximizes its return on investment. 

“You have to get rid of your methane gas somehow,” he said. “But hopefully, if there is a market out there, and if the market goes up and down, then we should be compensated as the market goes. Our contract now says they get everything and we don’t have any option to sell any of our stuff anywhere else. That was my only concern.” 

The board ultimately unanimously approved placing the contract increase on the consent agenda for Monday’s meeting.

ARPA updates

The board unanimously approved placing a staff request to provide $435,665 in ARPA funds to 17 local nonprofits on the consent agenda for Monday’s meeting. 

If approved, those nonprofits would include: 

  • Action Pathways, which would receive $30,000 for its Second Harvest Food Bank. 
  • Airborne and Special Operations Museum Foundation, which would receive $25,000 for STEAM programs and interactive materials at the museum.
  • Child Advocacy Center, which would receive $41,368 for training, utilities and general materials.
  • Community Health Interventions, which would receive $12,650 to hire a clinical coordinator and pay for utilities. 
  • Cool Springs Downtown District, which would receive $10,000 for its ambassador program, janitorial services, grounds upkeep and software to track visitor habits.
  • Cut My City Foundation, which would receive $22,548 for a mobile unit and training of apprentice barbers. 
  • Gate Beautiful, which would receive $40,000 for office supplies and materials.
  • Greater Fayetteville Chamber, which would receive $15,000 for personnel, materials and educational opportunities. 
  • Greater Life of Fayetteville, which would receive $30,000 for educational programs, after-school care and resources for parents and guardians. 
  • Greater Sandhills Chamber, which would receive $5,000.
  • Hope Mills Area Chamber of Commerce, which would receive $5,000.
  • Marius Maximus Foundation for Mental Health, which would receive $30,000 for peer support specialists, self-care bags for participants and training.
  • My Brother’s Keeper Church, which would receive $50,000 for equipment, feeding and back-to-school programs, a bricklayer school and utilities. 
  • New Life in Christ Ministries, which would receive $20,000 for occupancy costs and custodial needs. 
  • Sandhills Family Heritage Association, which would receive $50,000 for personnel, travel expenses for food pickup and distribution, rent, utilities, training and vehicle rentals. 
  • Sweet Tea Shakespeare, which would receive $24,999 for personnel, materials, occupancy costs and educators for programming.
  • The Soul Harvest Apostolic Church, which would receive $24,100 for meals for the homeless and healthy living seminars.

In other business:

  • The board unanimously approved placing a request for $500,000 in ARPA funding for a county internship program on the consent agenda for Monday’s meeting. 
  • The board unanimously approved placing a request to increase the county’s Minor Housing Repair Grant Program cap from $10,000 to $30,000, on Monday’s consent agenda.
  • The board unanimously approved County Attorney Rick Moorefield’s request to begin the process to change the county’s minimum housing and nonresidential building code to address abandoned properties. Moorefield said Adams and Vice Chairwoman Toni Stewart had expressed particular concern about the Coliseum Inn, an abandoned motel that has sat vacant since the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office shut it down last year.

Commissioners Marshall Faircloth and Jeannette Council were not present at Thursday’s meeting.

The board next meets Monday at 6:45 p.m. at the Cumberland County courthouse. 

Reporter Lexi Solomon can be reached at lsolomon@cityviewnc.com or 910-423-6500.

This story was made possible by contributions to CityView News Fund, a 501c3 charitable organization committed to an informed democracy.

Cumberland County Board of Commissioners, budget, ARPA, gas, Clarence Grier