• Sunday, November 19th, 2017

This was a busy week for me with several long nights.

Monday I attempted to contact all the council members for questions or concerns they might have on the regular meeting agenda. I was able to contact 4 of the 6 council members. Comments from council members were mostly focused on the Historic Landmarks public hearing and the Silverton rezoning. Later in the day I met with staff and went over the agenda items.

Next I was joined by council member Bush for a meeting with Town Manager Stegall. Most of our time was spent going over the mini retreat agenda that was scheduled for the next day.

Monday night I had the joy and pleasure of talking with about a hundred Glenaire residents on current activities in the town. My topics included the Opioid crisis, downtown developments, eastern gateway developments, and our rebranding efforts. My talk lasted about 35 minutes and then I answered questions another 20 minutes. I really enjoyed my time there and hope that I am invited back in the future.

Tuesday council and staff held a mini-retreat to do a deep dive on several topics. Those topics included a financial update, a catalog of projects and services, a stormwater management update, historic preservation, affordable housing, and the 2018 council meetings schedule.

Some notable items from the financial update included:

  • End of the FY2017 fund balance was $101.3 million.
  • Revenues are 1% higher than last year. Expenditures are on pace with last year.
  • Council approved a motion to refinance $105 million in bonds that will save us $8 million.
  • Council approved a motion to transfer $70,000 for the Ederlee sidewalk project.
  • Council approved a motion to use federal forfeiture funds for police radio batteries, computer tablets, investigative tools and software, and training.
  • Council approved a motion to appropriate $1 million to replace vehicles with Takata air bags which are a known safety risk. Note that all of these vehicles were scheduled for replacement within the next couple of years anyway.
  • Council approved a motion to appropriate $75,000 seed money to get decision points for a private streets study, a retail study, and the Piney Plains corridor study.

According to staff our financial status remains very strong.

The Catalog of projects and services session included the following points:

  • We need to eliminate silos, apply new technology, and continue to improve all while continuing to operate with excellent levels of service.
  • Currently there are 686 active projects including 405 capital projects and 281 non-capital projects.
  • There are 546 services currently being performed.
  • There is a relentless focus on operational integration.
  • With must partner with the citizens so that they understand the cost of services. An analogy would be Amazon allowing you to choose to have free delivery by waiting longer or get it sooner by paying more.

The stormwater management session was an update on the progress being made to create a plan. The complete plan will be presented in February at the annual council-staff retreat. Here are some of the takeaways from that session:

  • It has been said you can’t pave your way out of congestion. Similarly you can’t pipe your way out of stormwater issues.
  • Our future stormwater plan will include a downtown standard, targeted maintenance, and effective partnerships.
  • Stormwater issues belong to all of us whether we have a problem or not.
  • Cary adopted its stringent sediment and erosion controls in 1985.
  • Cary began requiring stormwater management plans for new development in 1990.
  • Cary allowed lots to be plotted in flood plains up until 2001.
  • There are 800 structures in some degree of risk.
  • Half of Cary was built before ordinances were in place to prevent building in the flood plain.

Historic preservation included the following points in its session:

  • The National Historic Preservation Act was created in 1966 and amended in 1971 and 1980.
  • The National Environmental Policy Act requires review when a federal action significantly affects the quality of the human environment including the cultural environment.
  • The State Environment Policy Act requires review when significant state expenditures or actions significantly affect the quality of the environment including historical or cultural elements.
  • The Historic Preservation Commission surveys and identifies, recommends, regulates, advocates and educates, and negotiates for purchase.
  • Cary’s historic inventory was last updated in 2014.
  • 358 properties were surveyed with 294 being residential.
  • The least represented area was pre-1850,
  • The oldest building recorded is the Nancy Jones House built in 1803.
  • The most unusual resource is Heater Alley.
  • There are several opportunities for preservation in Carpenter and Green Level.
  • Preservation tools include demolition delay, incentives, and a revolving fund.

The last session at the mini-retreat was on affordable housing. It was pointed out in the presentation that certain types of housing can help with affordability such as duplexes, triplexes, courtyard apartments, bungalows, townhouses, and multiplexes. In the council discussion I, along with other council members, believed that housing types are not key with affordability because each of those housing types in the particular location would not be affordable. In addition, affordability and subsidized housing are two separate issues. There is also a negative perception of Cary and affordable housing. That is, the belief is that Cary residents don’t want it and that Cary isn’t trying to provide it. A slide presented by staff showed that between 2004 and 2016 Cary has spent over $9 million on affordable housing. And we continue to work to provide affordable housing in Cary. We will talk more about this topic at our retreat in February.

Wednesday I attended the monthly meeting of CAMPO (Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s executive board). There were three consent items and three presentations. Presentations included an update on the potential federal rescission, an update on the Wake Transit Plan Implementation, and an update on the 2045 Metropolitan Transportation Plan. One interesting point that I noted was that the region’s population is projected to go from 1.2 million to 2.1 million by 2045. This will drastically change the need for transportation and the need for jobs in the area. I am proud to say that Cary is already working on issues related to those projections.

Later Wednesday I attended the graduation ceremony for the 41st Cary Police Academy. Twenty-six Cary residents took twelve sessions to learn about our police department and our town. It is my hope that they will take their knowledge and become ambassadors for the town. And that their message will include that fact that public safety is a partnership between law enforcement and its citizens. There ceremony was wonderful and had a great keynote speaker, Sgt. Katherine Christian, who told her life story of becoming a police officer. Thanks to all the citizens who participated and if you are interested they are taking applications now for the 42nd class.

Thursday I joined council members in a reception for the Hometown Spirit Award nominees. The Hometown Spirit Award is bestowed upon citizens with demonstrated leadership and integrity. In addition, the recipient must exemplify at least one of the following criteria: help out neighbors and fellow Cary residents; demonstration hospitality; promote and preserve traditional American pastimes; show a concern for preservation and work to preserve traditions and the small-town atmosphere in the community; promote entrepreneurship through supporting locally owned businesses; promote a sense of community in their neighborhood and all of Cary; demonstrate patriotism through promotion and preservation of the country’s symbols and dedication to the U.S. military, past and present; and serve the community through business. This year’s slate of nominees included a lot of great Caryites: Ralph and Daphne Ashworth, Caitlin Burke, Lindsey Chester, Al Cohen, Nathaniel Greene, Guy Mendenhall, Tru Pettigrew, Becca Smith, and Mia South. After making a few opening remarks I recognized Ralph Ashworth. Then each council member took turns recognizing the remainder of the nominees who all provided a few remarks. It was a great time of fun and laughter.

Thursday night the council held its last regularly scheduled council meeting of the month. The council meeting included three recognitions and reports, ten consent items, three public hearings, five discussion items, and a closed session.

Under recognitions and reports the council approved the 2018 Management Plan for the Booth amphitheater. This was the second year in a row that the Booth amphitheater returned a surplus to the General fund.

Our first recognition of the evening was the renaming the Meeting Place park located a Kildaire Farm Road and Pleasant Drive. We named it after Kay Struffolino who has been a citizen of Cary for 45 years and a Cary Hometown Spirit winner. She has dedicated her life to the improvement of Cary including adopting two parks to maintain. She has donated thousands of dollars to beautify Cary’s parks and greenways, and has served on numerous boards, committees, and task forces, all for the betterment of Cary. Simply put, Kay is a citizen in the truest sense of the word. It is due to this selfless commitment that Meeting Place Park was renamed in her honor. We love you Kay!

Our second recognition was the Hometown Spirit Award winner. Last year’s winner, Sheila Ogle, did the honors of opening the envelope and announcing that Ralph and Daphne Ashworth were the winners. Ralph & Daphne have been supporting local businesses in Cary since 1957 when they began Ashworth Drugs in downtown Cary. Since then they have been very active in both the business and philanthropic community. Not only have the Ashworths grown their own business, they’ve helped bring other businesses to downtown Cary to thrive in Ashworth Village. In addition, the Ashworths are among the greatest supporters of the North Carolina Veterans Freedom Park on North Harrison Avenue and they have been hosting a 4th of July ice cream social for seniors and veterans at the Cary Senior Center at Bond Park for more than 30 years. Congratulations Ralph and Daphne!

The Public Speaks Out portion there were several speakers against a proposed rezoning that would allow townhomes in Silverton at the northeast quadrant of the northwest Cary Parkway and Evans Road intersection. The applicant also spoke and asked that this item be tabled so that he could have more time to work with the neighbors. That request was granted later in the meeting.

The Fenton public hearing had several speakers say they were in favor of the development. Some pointed out that they go to Park West or North Hills and would prefer to stay in Cary. The council will have a work session on the Fenton proposal on December 5th.

There were also several speakers who spoke in favor of the staff recommended historic landmarks. Those landmarks included the White Plains Cemetery in the Maynard Oaks Subdivision, the Cary Arts Center, and the Jones House. After the public hearing and a few comments by council members this was unanimously approved.

Because of the Silverton rezoning being table there was really only one discussion item which was a rezoning request at Old White Oak Church Road. The proposal was conditioned to only allow detached residential and neighborhood recreation. Addition restrictions limited the density to 2.25 dwelling units per acre, provided a minimum community gathering space of 5,000 square feet, and provided a ten-foot wide strip of common open space adjacent to the eastern property line. After hearing from staff and the Planning and Zoning board’s chairman about their recommendation for approval, the council unanimously approved the request.

After a closed session the council meeting was adjourned after about two and a half hours.

Friday I had the joy of participating in the 6th annual tree lighting at Waverly Place. I have been fortunate to be a part of each of their tree lightings. After arriving I joined Santa Claus and Santa’s dancers in a staging area. Once they were ready for me I was placed behind the big tree. Then I was introduced and gave remarks which included thanking sponsors and businesses. Finally I introduced Santa. Santa made a few remarks and then I joined him in a countdown to light the tree. Santa threw magic dust on the tree at zero and the tree was lit. What a great time and a lot of fun.

Saturday I joined Mayor Pro-Tem Yerha and council member George for the Parkside Commons tree lighting. The event was geared towards families and it was packed. They also announced their outdoor skating rink which will be open until January 7th. At the event I welcomed everyone and then invited “three or four” children to help me flip the switch. We ended up with about two dozen children to flip the switch. It was a lot of fun and everyone seemed to be having a good time.

Emails this week included notification that Cary was highlighted in video by Cisco showing smart cities. You can see the video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqLOSiXh5WY.

 Council was also presented a quarterly report this week at the mini-retreat on Tuesday. Some notable items include:

  • Our budgeting process is now ongoing rather than a onetime year event.
  • In FY 2017 (fiscal year 2017), ending in June, we budgeted a decrease in the General Fund of $20.9 million but actual decrease was $1.4 million.
  • In FY2017 revenues exceeded expenses by $19.5 million.
  • In FY2017 the utility fund exceed expenses by $6,9 million.
  • A space in the Village Square shopping center of Amberly will be the home of PRCR activities in western Cary.
  • Panther Creek greenway bid went out in October and should be completed in the spring of 2019.
  • White Oak greenway construction is underway and should be completed in the winter of 2019.
  • Cary Teen council provided over 7,300 hours of volunteer time equaling about $158,000 in cost savings.
  • 85,000 people attended this year’s Lazy Daze.
  • Cary’s population was estimated to be 161,078 as of October 1st. This is a 1.67% increase from the same quarter last year. The lowest since 2005.
  • Preliminary construction is underway for Morrisville Parkway extension and NC540 interchange. This project cost $21.4 million and is expected to be completed in the winter of 2020.
  • A thermal imaging sensor was installed at the intersection of Dry Avenue and Academy Street in July to detect pedestrians crossing.
  • NCDOT Rail is discussing the Harrison Bridge project over the rails. The tunnel at Walker was eliminated from consideration. Southeast Maynard grade separated rail crossing is being evaluated.
  • The Green Level West Road widening is ongoing. The project costs $14 million and will be completed in the winter of 2019.
  • The Cary Parkway and High House Intersection project has completed design. This $3.9 million project is projected to be completed in the winter of 2019.
  • The Carpenter Fire Station Road Bridge and Intersection project is nearing design completion. This $18.2 million project is projected to be completed in the spring of 2021.
  • There have been 100 overdoses in Cary since January resulting in 4 fatalities.
  • Both the North and South Cary Wastewater Treatment Facilities have been designated as Exceptional Performing Facilities.
  • Fire frequency increased 23% during the last quarter compared to last year.
  • EMS calls increased 3.26% during the last quarter compared to last year.
  • There is a new police substation in Wellington Park Shopping Center off Tryon Road.

You can read the entire quarterly report at http://www.townofcary.org/mayor-council/town-council/quarterly-reports/q1-fy-2018.

The town manager’s report for this week included:

First Quarter Takeaways

I hope you’ve had an opportunity to read the new quarterly report as a supplement to our discussion on Tuesday. Thank you for taking the time out of your day to have a productive discussion with staff on a variety of important issues facing our community now and in the future. We know that there are many next steps for our February Council/Staff retreat and we look forward to those conversations.

Council Member Robinson asked about specifics related to budget adjustments. Those are listed in the quarterly report and are online here under the section Q1 Delegated Authority Financial Actions.

Once again, thank you to SAS for their hospitality. The meeting room space was first-class and provided a great setting for our first quarterly meeting.

Lori Cove Sentencing Update

Earlier today, Superior Court Judge Shirley sentenced Christopher Moore to 182-231 months in prison, which is consistent with what was asked for by the District Attorney and Lori’s family. Please keep Lori and her family in your thoughts.

Cary TV Offered on Google TV

Google was onsite to connect our PEG channel, Cary TV, to its television service. The connection is now in testing mode, and at Google’s discretion, at some point over the next few weeks those in Cary with Google TV service will be able to watch our channel. We anticipate being the first PEG channel in the Triangle to be offered on Google TV. Kudos to Dale Naleway for his efforts and coordination with Google.

Temporary Cell Towers Installed

AT&T and T-Mobile received approved this week to install their 100′ temporary cellular tower on the Plumtree Water Tank property. Verizon has also submitted plans for a second temporary tower for their equipment, which will be approximately 90′ tall. AT&T and T-Mobile will begin their temporary tower installation today and antennas will be moved to the temporary tower the wek of November 27.

Both temporary towers are required to be no higher than 100′ and must reside within the Town’s property line so that if laid down, the tower would not cross into any adjacent properties. The temporary towers will be in place during the duration of the tank painting project and must be removed within 60 days from notice by the Town at the completion of the painting project. The completion of the painting project and the relocation of the cellular antennas back on the tank column is expected in the summer of 2018.

Best-Tasting Water Contest

The Cary/Apex Water Treatment Facility earned second place honors in annual state-wide best tasting water contest. Each year at the American Water Works Association North Carolina annual conference, water samples submitted by utilities across the state are judged by a volunteer panel for relative good taste. The water samples are ranked in order of the panel’s preferences. Since 2003, the Town of Cary has placed first or second eight times.

Cary Represented at Water Works Association Meeting

With over 1,400 attendees, this year’s NC American Water Works Association conference was one of the biggest water events in the state of NC and the technical expertise of Town Cary staff was on full display. Experts from around the state and across the country gave presentations during the conference, providing continuing education and sharing ideas with other water professionals. This year, Cary staff presented at five of technical sessions. Presenters included Emily Barrett (Energy Optimization), Jeff Adkins & Sarah Braman (Water Use Analytics), Kelly Spainhour (Partnership with Winston-Salem to Improve Biosolids Analytical Standards), Rachel Monschein & Erin Lee (Cary-Apex Water Treatment Facility Powder Activated Carbon Optimization), and Matt Wetherell (Improved Locating of Critical Water Lines).

In addition to the technical presentations, Damon Forney, our Western Wake Regional Water Reclamation Facility manager, had the opportunity to show off the facility. The tour gave conference attendees a chance to see the great work he and his staff do every day to protect our water resources. Great job, team!

Charity Golf Tournament

The Bradford’s Ordinary Fire Company held its inaugural charity golf tournament on Monday at Prestonwood Country Club. The event raised more than $30,000 to support Operation Lifesaver, a service that helps locate missing people who are cognitively challenged and the Miracle League of the Triangle, which creates positive life experiences for children and adults with special needs.

Median Plantings Continue

Continuing with the fall median plantings, this week staff from Public Works spruced up Morrisville Parkway with some trees and plantings.

Thanksgiving Week Preview

We hope everyone, Council and staff, can enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends. Due to the holiday, citizens with Thursday collection for trash, recycling and yard waste will have their items collected on Friday. GoCary will not be in service on Thanksgiving but will resume normal operations on Friday.

Also, we will not be sending out a Weekly Report next week. However, we would like to recognize all of the staff that will be serving our public over the Thanksgiving holiday while town offices are closed. Thank you!

Recognitions

Paul Ray, Manager of the North Cary Water Reclamation Facility, was awarded the William D. Hatfield Award for outstanding performance and professionalism in wastewater treatment operations. The William D. Hatfield award was presented to Paul at the NC AWWA-WEA conference held in Raleigh earlier this week. This is the highest state level award for wastewater treatment operators offered through NC AWWA-WEA. Paul has been with the Town of Cary for 29 years and has been the Manager of NCWRF since 2012.

 

Emails from citizens this week included:

  • A complaint about the Goddard School project on Kildaire Farm Road (not a council decision)
  • Several complaints about the potential Crabtree Crossing connection from Morrisville (This is not a Cary decision but a Morrisville decision. I have made it clear to the Mayor, Mayor-Elect, and several council members that we are opposed to this connection)
  • A question about the Panther Creek Greenway bid.
  • A complaint about a street preacher in front of Cary High School.

Next week is a holiday week and only includes a meeting with the town manager and meetings with elected officials from other municipalities.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, November 26th.  Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communications with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org and email personal comments to augustanat@mindspring.com.

Category: Uncategorized  
• Sunday, November 12th, 2017

This was a big week for me as I walked my youngest daughter down the aisle.

Monday I met with Council members Frantz and Bush, the town manager, deputy town managers, and other staff to talk about development in downtown Cary. Years ago Cary approved the Town Center Plan and this year we approved the Cary Community Plan. Both of these plans called for more density in the downtown area. We now have a lot of interest from developers to implement portions of the plan. That was what we spent the meeting discussing.

Tuesday I attended the funeral for Zebulon Mayor Matheny’s wife who recently passed away. She was a very accomplished lady and practiced psychology in Zebulon and Morrisville. My prayers and thoughts continue to be with Mayor Matheny and his family.

Later Tuesday I attended a special meeting of the Economic Development Committee on branding. Cary staff had narrowed the consultant candidates down from 18 to 4. The committee will now review the initial proposals from the final 4 and meet in December to discuss and hopefully come up with a recommendation for the council. For me one of the ultimate goals of this process is to make “Cary” recognizable throughout the United States without the words “town” or “North Carolina”. If we continue to be an excellent community and are successful branding we should be able to continue to recruit major corporations from all over the world to locate in Cary.

Tuesday night elections were held in several Wake County municipalities. Raleigh, Fuquay, Wake Forest, Holly Springs, and others re-elected their mayors. Morrisville elected a new mayor. The Apex, Holly Springs, and Morrisville councils have several new people. It is interesting that Apex and Holly Springs now have new majorities based on what some believe is a backlash from rapid growth. This is exactly what Cary went through in 1999. I offered congratulations, help, and advice to my neighboring elected officials who were interested.

Thursday I had the honor and privilege of being a part of a ceremony to receive a $250,000 grant from the state for the benefit of Western Wake Chambers of Commerce. This money was budgeted in the last legislative session thanks to Senator Barringer. Some examples of how the money could be used included:

  • Development of a youth leadership program in partnership with local public and private high schools.
  • Establishment of a young professional’s network, particularly to work with youth in developing a stronger work ethic and private sector experiences.
  • Facilitate honor a teacher awards.
  • Organization or expansion of member driven Day of Service.
  • Growth of local leadership and Entrepreneurship programs to develop area through leaders.

Cary’s portion of these funds was $130,000 based on population. Upon completion of this fiscal year each organization must provide a detailed analysis including how funds have been allocated and how these funds specifically impacted each Chamber’s program of work for the benefit of youth in our communities. Other municipalities involved included Apex, Holly Springs, Morrisville, and Fuquay Varina. Mayors from Apex and Fuquay Varina were also at this event as well as council members from Morrisville, and chamber members from each municipality.

Friday I had the pleasure of talking with Mayor-Elect TJ Cawley from Morrisville. I shared information about experiences I had when I first became mayor and processes I/we put in place so that the council could function in the most efficient and fair way with a goal of being transparent and communicating with our citizens. It was my impression that Mr. Cawley is very interested in making his council and town better through transparency and process. I hope he succeeds and wish him the best.

Most of Friday and Saturday was spent in events for my youngest daughter’s wedding. It was a great time and I wish the best for my daughter and my new son in-law who now embark on the greatest journey of their lives.

The town manager’s report for this week included:

Previewing Next Week

On Tuesday, we will gather for our first quarterly meeting under our new way of approaching the budget process. The meeting will begin at 3 p.m. and will be hosted at SAS. For those attending, a parking pass has been added to your calendar entry. We are excited to provide an update of our financial position and have a conversation about Council priorities.

And on Thursday, we will all be back at Town Hall for the Hometown Spirit Award Reception, followed by a Council meeting.

Employee of the Year Reception

On Wednesday, staff gathered at the Cary Arts Center for the new and improved Employee of the Year reception. New this year, we had a catered reception, service award booths, and a photo booth among with props, not to mention the many presents for those employees celebrating their 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 years with the Town.

In addition, our Employee of the Year nominees were recognized by our Town management and their fellow employees. We look forward to recognizing all our employees again on Wednesday, December 6 for the luncheon. We would like to thank Mayor Pro Tem Ed Yerha, and Council Members Frantz and George for attending the party.

Fenton Website & Contact Update

At the Council meeting last Thursday, Council requested that staff set-up a process that would make citizen engagement in the Fenton rezoning process as easy as possible. To that end, we have created a webpage that has all the relevant information related to Fenton, including naming Rob Wilson as the primary point of contact for all citizen inquiries.

Speaking at The Cary Rotary

On Tuesday, I had the pleasure of visiting and speaking with the Cary Rotary Club. I was in awe of the group, in particular how impactful they have been on creating the Cary we know today. Their service to the history of Cary is significant and all the more reason our work of keeping Cary great is so important.

Phase I – 311 Space Construction

You may notice space changes the next time you’re at Town Hall. As we embark on our unprecedented journey to create the local government that doesn’t exist, creating a central hub for citizen engagement, a 311 Center, is necessary to serve as the backbone to this endeavor. With Town Hall closing on Friday, we are seizing an opportunity to construct this space. Located on the first floor across from the Development Services citizen counter, the space will house about a dozen employees. The few employees who currently work in that space will continue to do so for now, and all operations otherwise across Town will continue per usual come Monday.

In conjunction with construction, the work team leading the creation of Cary’s 311 Center has started engaging our current customer service staff at Public Works and Town Hall to share their invaluable perspective. With no true blue prints to follow, what will drive the creation of this space is the employees who choose to share their vision and dedicate themselves to making it a reality. This is an important milestone and I look forward to this first step in creating a single source of truth for both citizens and employees.

Chambers to Develop Workforce Readiness Programs

Mayor Weinbrecht joined Sen. Tamara Barringer, municipal elected officials from western Wake County and representatives from the western Wake County Chambers of Commerce for a check presentation. The General Assembly appropriated $250,000 to the chambers to develop a program for schools focusing on workforce readiness and entrepreneurship that uses experiential, hands-on learning.

Alston Ridge Groundbreaking

This morning, Mayor Pro Tem Yerha and Council Member George joined county commissioners and Wake County school board representatives at the groundbreaking of Alston Ridge Middle School.

Cary Staff in the News

Reid Serozi took to LinkedIn to talk about how the smart city movement has been focused on core infrastructure like broadband and sensors, but the conversation is beginning to shift to an even more important element – people. You can read about “The Rise of Citizen-Centered Government” here.

And last month, I was interviewed by GovLoop about HR challenges and current workforce issues. I was able to speak about my approach that above all else, everything we do is a human endeavor, as well as the belief that our current employees have untapped resources that can be leveraged for future opportunities. You can read the full GovLoop report here.

Presentation at Fonville Morisey

As a follow-up to the Cary Realtor Tour the Town hosted, I was invited to speak to a Fonville Morisey Team in Raleigh. I presented on the development and redevelopment opportunities in Eastern Cary Gateway (Fenton and Cary Town Mall) and also shared about the revitalization efforts and successes in Downtown. Approximately 30 realtors were in attendance.

NCDOT Project Updates

US-64 Improvements from Laura Duncan Rd. to US-1

US-64 is a critical corridor for both transportation and economic development for our region, with the project limits spanning both Cary and Apex town limits. NCDOT is partnering with Cary to address congestion, access and safety concerns while improving mobility and aesthetics along the corridor. The corridor experiences double the state average crash rate, significant regional traffic and afternoon peak hours from 2-6 p.m. Traffic studies indicate that grade separations/interchanges are needed at both Laura Duncan and Lake Pine intersections. Anticipated next steps include:

  • NCDOT project website launched November 2017
  • Engaging with focus groups November – March 2018
  • Public Meetings conducted Spring 2018
  • Right of way acquisition beginning in 2020
  • Anticipated construction beginning in 2022

1-440 Improvements from I-40 to Wade Avenue

This section of the beltline is located in Raleigh city limits and does not meet current design standards. The proposed improvements include widening approximately six miles of I-440 from two to three lanes in each direction while improving the interchanges with Jones Franklin Road, Western Blvd, Hillsborough Street and Wade Avenue. Additional improvements include eliminating bottlenecks at both ends of the project, improving site distance, widening shoulders and medians, increased acceleration and deceleration lanes, median barrier with plantings and improved bike/pedestrian access. Anticipated next steps include:

  • Complete environmental document in early 2018
  • Begin Right of Way and Construction in July 2018

Monthly Utility Report

According to the November Utility Report, our wastewater treatment facilities are continuing to operate well and meet their targets for nutrient removal. Staff are advancing a number of important offseason maintenance activities, as well as completing this year’s freeze protection planning and procedures. There is additional data provided including benchmarking information of our utility rate and Jordan Lake water level data.

Staff Engages Ashley Downs HOA

Ashley Downs Home Owners Association invited staff to come to their annual HOA meeting on Monday night. Cassie Schumacher-Georgopoulos, and Scot Berry from Development Services discussed various private developments around their community, including vacant land around the I 540 interchange, and how the Imagine Cary, and specifically the destination center designation in the growth frame work map would help guide future development.  In addition we gave a brief overview of the Green Level West Road widening that the Town is working on. There were about 20 homeowners in attendance, and we shared various ways they can stay involved in what’s happening around their community.

Median Plantings Underway

This week, staff completed median plantings at Ten Ten Road, West Lake Road and Yates Store Road. Below is a below/after photo example of Yates Store Road.

GoCary Food Drive

November 13-17, GoCary will be hosting a week-long food drive to benefit our community. As part of GoCary’ s fifth annual food drive, passengers who bring canned or non-perishable food items to any fixed-route GoCary bus can ride for free all day on November 15. All items collected will be donated to Cary’s Dorcas Ministries Food Pantry to meet the high demand of food assistance during the holiday season.

Citizens can also drop off donated food in bins located in the Town Hall lobby, Police Department lobby and Public Works lobby. The goal is to collect over 1,500 pounds of non-perishable food items.

Recognitions

A huge hand of applause goes to all the staff involved in throwing the Employee of the Year Reception (aka party!). Thanks to the entire HR team, the Cary Arts Center staff, PRCR graphic design guru’s, Amina Shah for her new ideas, and the Public Works Special Events Crew. In particular, thanks go to Kim Berthiaume and Karen Spurlin for orchestrating the party!

 

Emails this week included notification that Cary Top-Rated Amtrak station in the country.

Staff sent out a press release announcing that Cary is one of eleven cities in the U.S. that will receive part of one million dollars to fund environmental efforts. The program is supported by five investor foundations: The JPB Foundation, The Kendeda Fund, The New York Community Trust, The Summit Foundation, and Surdna Foundation. This grant cycle also includes $127,500 awarded to three green stormwater infrastructure projects, designed to advance water-related sustainability goals, made possible by the support of the Pisces Foundation, the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation, and the Turner Foundation.

Emails from citizens this week included:

  • A request to change school schedules (School schedules are a function of the Wake County Public School System).
  • A complaint that Cary is discriminatory. (I disagree. We are a welcoming, diverse community)
  • A concern about the Fenton development.
  • A concern that an individual has a Morrisville address but couldn’t vote in their election. (Addresses are a reflection of the post office that delivers your mail. There are Cary citizens with Morrisville, Raleigh, Apex, etc addresses)

Next week will be very busy for me and includes a mini council-staff retreat, a speaking engagement at Glenaire, a meeting of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s executive board, a graduation ceremony for the Citizen Police Academy, a reception for the Hometown Spirit Award, a regularly scheduled council meeting, a tree lighting ceremony at Waverly Place, and a tree lighting ceremony at Parkside Commons.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, November 19th.  Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communications with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org and email personal comments to augustanat@mindspring.com.

Category: Uncategorized  
• Sunday, November 05th, 2017

This week was my last busy week before it slows down next week. The reason for the slowdown next week is that my baby girl is getting married on Veterans Day… gulp.

Monday started with contacting council members to hear of concerns and questions for the regularly scheduled council meeting on Thursday. I was able to contact four of them and there were no major concerns or questions. They were interested in what plans would be shown for the Columbia Development Public Hearing (across Cary Town Boulevard from the mall). Later in the day I met with staff and we went over the agenda items. At the time we estimated that there would not be a lot of speakers and that the meeting would be relatively short.

After the meeting I met briefly with the town manager and Mayor Pro-Tem Yerha. We were updated on several items including the traffic accident involving the little girl at Laurel Park elementary. The manager assured us that safety was our highest priority and that the police chief had this as his highest priority. We will work with NCDOT, Apex, and the WCPSS, who are the decision makers for change, to come up with ideas to make things safer.

My next meeting was with two engineers with Kimley-Horn. One of them I taught in Sunday School several years ago. The purpose of the meeting was to make me aware of the work they were doing in town and to let me know what a good job our staff was doing. In our conversation they let me know that our proactive approach of replacing sewer lines was going very well. They said that much of what they were replacing was still in good shape.

Next I met with Dr. Blake Livingood and his assistant. We talked about ideas and initiatives to help make Cary a fitter community. I offered to join him in a yearlong fitness initiative. I asked him first to meet with our parks director to talk about what the town is already doing and what would be a good fit. I am excited to see what he comes up with.

My last meeting of the day was with the mother of someone who has been working in Japan for a few years and now has the opportunity to work for the ambassador in Japan. Unfortunately, he was having difficulty getting a security clearance. We talked about ways to help with that process which is becoming more and more difficult these days.

Thursday was the first regularly scheduled council meeting of November. On the agenda were one consent item, three public hearings, and a closed session. The first public hearing was on three Land Development ordinances amendments commercial parking maximums, small wireless telecommunications facilities (small cell), and technical changes. While there were no speakers the council was very interested in the small cell changes that are required as result of legislative changes. There remain a lot of unknowns with the legislation. Our second public hearing was on the Fenton mixed use development which is across Cary Town Boulevard from the mall. This hearing had several speakers with most of them being from the neighboring Village Green townhomes. All speakers were in favor of the project and agree that it will transform this area of Cary. We continued this public hearing until our November 16th meeting to provide other opportunities for citizens to speak since this is such a massive project. Our last public hearing was a rezoning proposal at the corner of Davis Drive and Airport Boulevard across from the development that will include a Wegmans. The applicant for this rezoning provided a list of things it would not be but did not list what it could be. So at this point it could be fast food, a gas station, both, or something else. It will be interesting to see how this one might change as it goes through the process. After a closed session the council adjourned after about two and a half hours.

Saturday I had the honor and pleasure of attending the 59th annual Cary Band Day at Cary High School. In addition to Cary High’s great exhibition we were all treated to an exhibition by the UNC band. After the 1A through 3A competition I provided welcome remarks to those in attendance. As usual I really enjoyed my time there. It is my hope that in Cary Band Day’s 60th anniversary that they would bring back the parade. We’ll see.

The town manager’s report for this week included the following:

Cary Hosts DHS & Community Partners In Forum About Resiliency, Engagement

On Wednesday, Cary hosted a meeting with Department of Homeland Security (DHS) staff as part of their ‘Flood Apex Program – Rethinking Americas Costliest Disaster.’ This event is part of the DHS National conversation on Community Flood Resilience. The meeting championed by Dan Ault, included community stakeholders from SAS, Trilliant, Wake County, and Cary Chamber of Commerce along with Town staff from a broad spectrum of departments. Dr. David Alexander from DHS and G&H International Services led the participants in a productive discussion. This public/private partnership group brainstormed on community resilience to flooding and ideas to bring the community together to rally around this important issue. Looking forward to continuing this conversation and building community involvement.

Laura Duncan Dr. Crosswalk Efforts Update

As an interim solution, Cary Police has set up traffic control measures along the shoulder of Laura Duncan Drive, adjacent to the school, to deter parents from dropping off and picking up children along the street instead of using the carpool line.  Additionally, I have been in communication with Apex Town Manager, Drew Havens, about a comprehensive review and coordinating any improvements identified

Small Business Day Proclaimed in Cary

On Wednesday, Council Members Smith, Robinson and George read a proclamation recognizing Saturday, November 25 as “Small Business Day” in Cary. The proclamation encourages “Cary residents to recognize and support small businesses within our community by shopping at these establishments on the Saturday following Thanksgiving as a way to boost our local economy and strengthen our business community.” This proclamation was presented to the joint Economic Development and Governmental Relations Committee during the Chamber’s Eye Opener. At the Eye Opener, Ted Abernathy also presented on Cary’s growth, economy and future prospects.

Wake Transit Open Houses Seek Feedback From Public

Last fall, Wake County voters approved a half-cent sales tax dedicated to public transit improvements. Now it’s time to decide what happens next. Do we add more frequent service to existing routes, or do we expand coverage to areas without any service? Do we add more bus stops, or do we improve our technology options?

Over the next few weeks, citizens will have an opportunity to provide feedback to these questions, and others like them, during a series of “open house” style public meetings. Ten meetings are scheduled throughout Wake County, with a wide variety of dates, times and locations available (see schedule below). Citizens are encouraged to stop by for a few minutes to learn more about Wake Transit’s 10-year vision, including plans for bus service enhancements, as well as the addition of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and Commuter Rail. If citizens are unable to attend the meetings, surveys are available online:  Take a quick survey to let us know what you think we should do first. If you can’t attend a meeting, you can still participate! The survey is also available online.

Cary Public Meetings:

Tuesday, November 14th

5:30 PM – 7:30 PM

Cary Senior Center at Bond Park (accessible via GoCary Route 4)

Thursday, November 16th

1:00 PM – 3:00 PM

Cary Arts Center (accessible via GoCary Route 5)

Good Hope Farm Project Receives More Support

We are pleased to announce that western Cary’s new Whole Foods Market has signed on to support our Good Hope Farm project in two exciting ways. First, they are hosting a benefit concert, the evening of November 4, with local band Chatham County Line and all proceeds from ticket sale will be donated to the farm. Second, at their grand opening on November 7, they are donating 5% of their total sales to the farm. We are grateful for their support and are already making plans for future collaborations that support our efforts with local organic farming. Ticket information is available online.

Jordan Lake Levels Below Normal

The lake level is down approximately 3.35 ft. below its normal pool elevation and is currently at 212.65 ft as of November 2. Staff from Cary/Apex Water Treatment Facility has two intakes that can be used to access raw water from Jordan Lake, an upper intake and a lower intake. As the lake has been slowly declining for several weeks, staff has proactively prepared the lower intake, which is now in service. In fact, both upper and lower intakes are currently operating. If the lake level declines to 212 ft, plant staff will switch to use only the lower intake, which can fully supply our water demand for the entire system. At this time of year, the lake is completely mixed and there are no treatment impacts resulting from using the lower intake. The lowest lake level experienced during the last 15 years was 209.9 ft. during the 2002 drought.

Solid Waste Rebalancing Begins Monday

This week, Public Works staff placed 26,000 reminder notices on the carts of all homes affected by next week’s solid waste collection schedule change. This is the final leg in our communications to inform households of the new route changes. Other reminders included BUD teasers, a direct mailing and recent inserts in the annual mailer. The largest component of this schedule change is the discontinuance of Friday collections. All solid waste services will now be collected on Monday through Thursday, as opposed to the existing Tuesday through Friday.

Cary Hosts Smart Cities Gathering

On Tuesday, approximately 100 outside agency and staff members gathered at the Cary Art’s Center to learn more about making smart communities a reality. The event focused on how relationships between graphical information systems (GIS) and the Internet of Things (IoT) can create more insight into an agency’s citizen base while increasing efficiencies. Terry Yates provided a presentation on Cary’s Smart City efforts as part of the seminar.

Fall Median Plantings Underway

Plants have arrived for our upcoming fall median planting project. Medians to be planted this year include: Green Level Church Road (Phase 2), West Lake Road, Ten-Ten Road, O’Kelly Chapel Road, Louis Stephens Road, Yates Store Road, Kit Creek Road.

Pumpkin Flotilla Returns to Bond Park

For the second year, over 1,000 participants enjoyed the Pumpkin Flotilla and the final Bands, Bites and Boats event of the season at Bond Park on Monday evening. This is the first year of the Bands, Bites and Boats event that has been held on the final Friday between April and October. Throughout the season, over 2,500 visitors enjoyed the series.

Pill Takeback Event Successful

A pill takeback event was held this past weekend. We collected 473.6 pounds of prescription’s pills to push our 2017 total amount to 805.6 pounds. Detective Whitney Hall did an outstanding job coordinating CAP Team members, detectives, pick up locations, and media. This was another very successful operation due to all the hard work and dedication that was displayed.

Recognitions

The 2017 Employee of the Year nominees have been announced! Eleven deserving employees were nominated by either their coworkers or Cary citizens for their outstanding contributions to the Town on a consistent basis. Our 2017 nominees are: Mary Beerman (Planning), Jim Bridges (Utilities), Jarrod Buchanan (Water Resources), Marie Cefalo (Water Resources), Wilson Farrell (IT), Vicki Hayes (IT), Billy Lee (Water Resources), Charles Massey (Police), Rachel Monschein (Utilities), Pamela Simons (T&F), and Rob Wilson (Planning). Congratulations!

 

Emails from citizens this week included the following:

  • A complaint that the town was destroying the American Tobacco Trail (Not true, that is the last thing we would do)
  • Concerns about safety on Laura Duncan Road.
  • A complaint about a proposed rezoning in Regency.
  • A complaint that seniors do not get enough softball games.
  • A complaint about speeding on Walnut Street.
  • A request to mandate restaurant hours (we don’t have that authority).
  • A request to allow more chickens than is currently allowed in our backyard chicken ordinance (you’re asking the wrong person).
  • A request to have recycling weekly (much more capital and operating cost, ie taxpayer dollars. Residents can order multiple recycling bins).
  • A complaint about Cary’s lack of empathy (I disagree).
  • A request to have more food drives (these are private food drives not town initiated food drives)
  • A request to have a mini Carowinds at the mall site (that site is not owned by the town but by CBL).
  • A request to build a recreation center.
  • A request to build more animal shelters (this is currently a county function).
  • A request to have a club for kids (we do! Cary teen council).
  • A request to create a car track for people to race.
  • A request for crossing guards at middle and high schools.
  • A request for more community programs for the elderly.
  • A request to use more school buses (school buses are a function of the WCPSS).
  • A request to build a soccer park in downtown Cary.
  • A request for schools to start an hour earlier (school schedules are a function of the WCPSS).
  • A request to put surveillance cameras in all alleys and streets.
  • A complaint about the intersection at Green Hope School Road and Alamosa Place.

Next week will include staff meetings and an economic development meeting. It will also be a big week for me as my youngest daughter is getting married.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, November 12th.  Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communications with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org and email personal comments to augustanat@mindspring.com.

Category: Uncategorized  
• Sunday, October 29th, 2017

This week was another busy week with two significant events, the approval of IKEA and the groundbreaking of the third MetLife tower.

Monday I attempted to contact all council members to hear of any questions or concerns about Thursday’s regularly scheduled council meeting. I was able to contact council members Yerha, Bush, and Frantz. Most of the comments were on the proposed Singh rezoning at Evans and Cary Parkway. Later in the day I met with key staff to review the agenda items. We believed at the time that the biggest discussion would be on the Singh rezoning.

Wednesday I attended a meeting of the CAMPO (Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization) executive board. This is the decision making body for state and federal funds related to roads/highways, transit, rail, pedestrian/bike, etc. This meeting included two public hearings and five discussion items.

One public hearing had about a dozen speakers led by Raleigh’s council member Cox. They wanted the funding for the widening from Falls of the Neuse from Durant to I540 to be removed from the transportation project list mostly because of how it would impact their neighborhood. Raleigh approved a list of projects including this project in 2013 and it is on the Raleigh transportation plan and the CAMPO transportation plan. The project is now a CAMPO and NCDOT project and that is the reason the speakers were speaking to the board members. The board decided to continue with the project but there were two dissenting votes.

Under discussion the executive board heard from the turnpike authority about their efforts to combine the next two pieces of I540 together to help get them built sooner. Like the last section through Cary, these sections will also be toll roads.

The board also heard of federal legislation to rescind $800 million of unallocated funding for projects. Cary currently has one of those projects, at the MacArthur section of the White Oak Greenway. According to staff this section was waiting on approval from NC Rail. That has now been approved so allocation should of those funds should be very soon.

The 2045 Metropolitan Transportation Plan update was also reviewed by the executive board. The update included a BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) from Harrison Avenue to Kildaire Farm to Regency. The Morrisville mayor asked that a Crabtree Crossing project be removed from the plan. This is the Church Street section and not the Town Hall Drive section that would connect to Cary. That section will be voted on by the Morrisville council in January.

The last bit of news from the CAMPO meeting was that Bret Martin has left the CAMPO staff to become the Cary transit project leader. Welcome Bret!

The CAMPO meeting concluded after two hours.

Thursday the council held its last regularly scheduled meeting of the month. The agenda included 5 consent items, 3 public hearings, 9 discussion items, and a closed session.

Most of the public comments were during the public hearing for the Lewey Drive rezoning. The proposal, if approved, would allow 64 townhomes on about 8 acres between Highway 55 and the Brookstone neighborhood. Speakers complained that the proposal was too dense and would create more traffic through their neighborhood. Council forwarded this to the Planning and Zoning board for their review and recommendation. Council will make a decision on this at a later date.

The first discussion item was the IKEA proposal at the mall. The media and many residents were very excited about this. It was a no-brainer when you think about the current state of the mall. Although IKEA is good for Cary,  I am more excited about the eventual mixed use at the mall and across Cary Town Boulevard. I am not thrilled about non-masonry blue and yellow large building but at least it is not visible from Walnut Street or Cary Town Boulevard. IKEA showed that they are already trying to be a good corporate citizen by making concessions after they knew they had the votes for approval. Good for them!

The next discussion item was for multi-family on Piney Plains near Tryon Road. I believe this area of town is inundated with multi-family and retail. Multi-family was the last thing I really wanted to see. Having said that, the proposal had conditions to ensure it was high end proposal. Hopefully that will set a precedent for quality development for future projects on that road. In addition, staff and council agreed to study the Piney Plains corridor as a special plan which could possibly include a median. If the median comes to fruition it will change the character of that corridor in a positive way.

Our last big discussion item was the Singh proposal at two corners of Cary Parkway and Evans Road. The southeast corner of the proposal was acceptable to council, staff, and the Planning and Zoning board who unanimously recommended denial. The discussion on the northwest corner focused on whether or not it should be saved for office when the proposal was multi-family. The Planning and Zoning board listed that as their main reason for recommending denial. The majority of the council believed that the best office you could get there would be 2 to 3 story medical office type buildings. And since this property has been sitting idle for decades the likelihood of that happening was slim especially since it was bordered by a church and industrial uses. So the decision boiled down to whether or not to keep waiting for office or to allow the proposal to move ahead. It should be pointed out that the multi-family project will be high end with garages, a large club house, a salt water pool, as well as many other amenities. After hearing the Planning and Zoning board recommendation, and staff recommendation (which they said they could have gone either way), the council eventually approved the proposal with a 5 – 2 vote.

After a close session the council meeting ended after a little over two hours.

Friday I had the privilege of attending the groundbreaking for the third MetLife tower in the Weston office park in Cary. In 2015 MetLife opened their first two towers for their technology hub. Over 1,500 highly skilled jobs were created in that initial expansion. The new building will bring an additional 500 jobs to Cary. This huge expansion announcement drew big names to the ceremony including the Governor, both Senators, members of congress, state senators and representatives, and local leaders not to mention the top leaders of MetLife and Highwoods properties. In the speech from the MetLife leaders they said it was a no-brainer to expand in Cary. Keep in mind that this is 50% more than they originally said they would do. This says a great deal about Cary and its business environment. It is my hope that other corporations will take note and consider relocating here. After hearing speeches from the aforementioned VIPs the crowd of about a couple hundred people went outside for the ceremonial shoveling of the dirt. There were several pictures with various groups at the groundbreaking shovel area including the Cary delegation made up of me, Mayor Pro-Tem Yerha, council member Frantz, Chamber President Johnson, and others. What a great event for Cary!

Friday night I had the joy of attending the 30th anniversary concert by the Cary Town Band at the Cary Arts Center in front of a capacity crowd. This 50 member band plays at Lazy Daze, the 4th of July, and other celebrations. They put on a performance with a theme of scary music and were joined by dancers from Graceful Expressions Dance Education for two numbers. It was a wonderful show. It should be noted that the Cary Town Band relies on donations. If you would like to help the Cary Town Band or find out more about them see http://www.carytownband.org.

Saturday I had the honor of participating in the 10th anniversary celebration of TAC (Triangle Aquatic Center). TAC is one of the, if not the largest, private aquatic centers in the country. The emcee for this event was Steve Daniels from WTVD. I spoke as well as Wake County Commissioner Portman, Cary Chamber President Johnson, and of course Michael Curran. In Mr. Curran’s remarks he talked about the 3 stage expansion. The last stage of that expansion and will more than double the water. It was a great event and I am excited about the announced expansion.

The town manager’s report for this week included the following:

 2017 ICMA Highlights

For the first time, we hosted an essay contest for staff to attend ICMA. We received a lot of great responses. Jeremy Burgin (Police) and Brandon Roberson (Public Works) were selected and joined myself and Council member Jennifer Robinson in San Antonio to experience it all firsthand. For staff at Town Hall Campus, we livestreamed the conference for the second year in a row. I want to thank to Carla Witherington and Dale Naleway for coordinating.

While at ICMA, I participated in a panel alongside Denise Foreman, Assistant to the Wake County Manager, on Monday. The topic, “The Data Driven Manager,” focused on the role of data analytics and how it can improve a community; it was led by Council member Jennifer Robinson.

MetLife’s Third Building Groundbreaking

Lana Hygh, Mayor Harold Weinbrecht, Council members Don Frantz and Ed Yerha along with the Chamber’s Howard Johnson and Kyle Greer attended the groundbreaking ceremony this morning for the third MetLife building. Senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, Congressmen David Price and George Holding, and Governor Roy Cooper attended and made remarks. The new building is scheduled to open in 2019.

Steven Kandarian, president, chairman, and chief executive officer of MetLife stated that the company would be investing heavily in technology and was delighted to expand its presence in NC. Ed Fritsch of Highwoods Properties, Inc. stated that in projects of this magnitude, “…every community claims partnership; the Town of Cary delivers.”

CAMPO Executive Board Meeting

CAMPO met on October 25. Public hearings were held on the following agenda items:

  • FY2016-25 TIP Amendment #7 (approved)
  • FY2018-27 TIP (approved)

The Board also received information on several agenda items, including Complete 540, the proposed Federal Rescission Legislation, Wake Transit Plan Implementation Update and Cost Share Agreement for Commuter Rail Study, and the 2045 Metropolitan Transportation Plan.

VIP Event at Green Hope HS

Our Police and Fire departments participated in a VIP event at Green Hope High School on Tuesday. The goal of the event is to showcase just how fatal distracted driving can be. First responders and parents of those killed in distracted driving crashes shared their experiences, and the day-long event concluded with a very dramatic and realistic simulation of a fatal crash so students could see how emergency responders work through the scene in real-life situations. About 725 GHHS students were in attendance. Other participating agencies included the NC Highway Patrol and NC Wildlife Commission. This program is funded in part by the Governor’s Highway Safety Program.

Affordable Housing at RRAR Diversity Committee Luncheon

On October 12, Council member Ken George joined Raleigh Council member Cory Branch and Durham Mayor Pro Tem Cora Cole-McFadden at the Raleigh Regional Association of Realtors’ Diversity Committee’s monthly Lunch & Learn. The topic was “Helping People Live Where they Work” and was livestreamed via Facebook on the RRAR’s account.

CPD’s International Training Having Big Impact

The efforts by one of our own resulted in sweeping arrests in Brazil. Kevin West of our Police Department traveled several times to Brazil over the last year to train officers as part of his volunteer work with the Child Rescue Coalition. That training culminated last Friday, when over 1,100 officers executed over 100 search warrants in 24 of 26 Brazilian states. Well over 100 people were arrested, and the operation made news worldwide. This is such important work, and I am humbled by the passion Kevin has for his work. We are so fortunate to have him representing Cary.

Recognitions

Chief Tony Godwin appeared in a Facebook Live video on CALEA’s social media account speaking on the topic, “Are Local Barbershops Key to Community Engagement?” He did a great job highlighting our Building Bridges efforts and sharing what is working in Cary. The discussion was part of the International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference in Philadelphia.

I’m sad to report ISAB citizen volunteer Terri Udoh, also a graduate of the Town’s School of Government, passed this week.

 

Emails from citizens this week included:

  • Comments for and against the Singh rezoning at Cary Parkway and Evans.
  • Criticism of the decision at Cary Parkway and Evans: “decision makes Cary less great”, “terrible decision against unanimous advice”, “you’ve harmed my neighborhood. There is no excuse for this” (Council members spent a LOT of time considering this project over years and years. I honestly believe this is the best use of the land. The only other interest was a grocery store – like we need more of those. I would invite critics to watch our discussion and read all the staff reports)
  • Criticism that we need more senior softball league games
  • Criticism that we are destroying the American Tobacco Trail (Actually we are providing a pedestrian tunnel and think the American Tobacco Trail is a huge asset)
  • A request for an outdoor skating rink
  • A complaint about Cary’s ghost walk
  • A question about the future widening of Holly Springs Road (it is a state road and it is my understanding is there is no funding in the next several years)
  • Comments for and against IKEA
  • A request to investigate driver-less buses.

Next week’s activities will include several meetings with citizens and special interests, a regularly scheduled council meeting, and the 59th Cary Band Day.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, November 5th.  Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communications with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org and email personal comments to augustanat@mindspring.com.

Category: Uncategorized  
• Sunday, October 22nd, 2017

This week had a much slower pace which I greatly appreciated.

Monday the town manager and I had a virtual meeting with the Research Triangle Foundation’s new CEO Scott Levitan. He provided background information on education, places he had worked, and issues he had faced. We asked him questions about his plans for RTP. Like his predecessor he plans to make it a more live, work, and play area of the region. What he described basically sounded like he was creating a new city. I asked him about infrastructure as he plans to implement the vision and he said it would be a challenge. It should be pointed out that he will need fire and police protection as well as water and sewer services. RTP gets and will be getting services from places like Cary and Durham at high rates. It will be interesting to see how this all works since RTP doesn’t pay taxes. Stay tuned.

Afterwards the manager and I met for our one-on-one meeting. There weren’t many issues so we spent most of our time talking about private matters.

Monday night I met with the Mayors Association in Apex. Nine of the twelve mayors were in attendance except the mayors of Garner, Rolesville, and Wendell who were absent. The beginning of the meeting included a presentation from Wake County Public School System Superintendent Dr. James Merrill. They are concerned about House Bill 704 which would split school systems like Wake County. This would create massive complexities, duplications, and expenses. IMHO it would double Cary’s taxes and would be devastating to our community and region. Hopefully, our legislators will see the obvious and kill this bad idea. The rest of the Mayors Association meeting was spent on discussing finances and whether or not to become an official non-profit organization rather than a social group.

Tuesday I joined Mayor Pro-Tem Yerha and council member Frantz in a meeting with developer representatives from Singh who are proposing development on two corners at Evans Road and Cary Parkway. The proposal for the southeast corner of that intersection, which has numerous conditions, is for a retirement community. If approved it would be a Waltonwood similar to the one at US1 and Cary Parkway. I have no problem with this proposal and think it would be a good fit to the neighborhood. The second part of the proposal is on the southwest corner of the intersection and is also heavily condition. This is the most controversial corner because the plan calls for a mix of uses and can be used for office. Since Cary doesn’t have a lot of available land for office the proposal is much more difficult to consider. However, the developer representatives would argue that this site is not suitable for office. The conditions for this site include garage apartments and an 8,000 square foot clubhouse complete with a salt water pool. If approved, this will be a very high end apartment complex. The meeting concluded in less than an hour. Our decision on this proposal is scheduled for our October 26th meeting.

On Tuesday I responded to questions presented by a high school student working on a project. Here are the questions and the responses:

  • What political cause or perspective do you most strongly identify with? I am really not a political person. I don’t like party politics and believe it has no place in local government. We should always remain non-partisan and apolitical. Having said that, I am a registered Democrat and have been described as socially liberal and fiscally conservative.
  • What is your favorite thing about the Town of Cary? I really don’t have ONE favorite thing about Cary. There is a lot I like about Cary such as tree lined streets, well planned neighborhoods, and beautiful office parks. I guess one of our unique characteristics is that we are much cleaner and greener than most municipalities.
  • If you could only choose two interesting facts about yourself, what would they be? One thing people might find interesting is that I work out at least one hour a day (mostly tennis and running with about 20 minutes of weights). I hope to run the Tobacco Road half marathon in March if my knees hold up. My doctor at my annual physical said: “Your numbers are incredible but you have a serious addiction to endorphins.” One of the numbers she was referring to was my resting heart rate which is around 40 bpm. The other thing most people don’t realize is that I have full time job where I write software. Most of my meetings are at night and on the weekends. Having said that, during the day I keep in contact with the manager, public information, attorneys, and administration but they are running the town. That is, the town is set up like a corporation. I am the chairman of the board, the council is the board, and the manager is the CEO. You and the rest of the 161,000 people are the stockholders.
  • S. Just a fun question: If you could have anything for shoelaces, what would they be? I don’t really understand the shoelace question (I guess I am too old) but I assume you are asking what would I most like to have. If that assumption is correct it would be time. Most of my time, seven days a week, is programmed. So you can imagine after 10 years as mayor and doing municipal activities since 1997 I have had little time to myself. My last day off (no work and no mayor duties) was in early September.

 

Saturday I joined Mayor Pro-Tem Yerha and council member Frantz at the first annual Farmers Fall Festival at the downtown Cary farmers market. Most of the vendors there were craftsman or artisans but there were a few farmers providing fresh food. I suspect this farmer’s market will get larger and larger as downtown redevelops and more people move to the area. My role at this event was to provide welcome remarks. Afterwards I visited all the vendors.

This week included a notification that Cary rated #6 for highest quality of life in the United States out of the 177 cities with over 150,000 residents. The data used for the decision used estimates from the 2016 U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey and included the number of hours worked, commute times, percentage of income spent on housing, health insurance coverage, poverty levels and unemployment rate. We are proud to add this to our long list of accolades.

The town manager’s report for this week included the following:

Snow Rodeo Successes

Mother Nature cooled things down this week just in time for our annual winter weather exercise on Wednesday, affectionately known as our Snow Rodeo. Several hundred employees benefited from hands on training with chainsaws, plowing and general personal/vehicle safety. We even had several members of the media join us for the exercise to tour our Snow Command and see materials up close. I want to thank the leaders in public works for positioning us for another successful season!

Old Reedy Creek Trailhead Opening Celebration

The weather was perfect Thursday evening for community engagement at our new Old Reedy Creek Trailhead. About 100 outdoor enthusiasts passed through during the three-hour event. If you’ve not been, the trailhead is located at 2139 Old Reedy Creek Road and offers 82 parking spaces, restrooms, a shelter, bike repair station, and drinking fountains for people and pets. It is the starting point for Cary’s seven-mile Black Creek Greenway and provides access to the East Coast Greenway through Umstead State Park as well as the scenic Lake Crabtree overlooks. It’s a great addition to our greenway system.

Champion Sustainable Fleet Technology Conference

The Town of Cary was highlighted at the Sustainable Fleet Technology Conference & Expo at the Raleigh Convention Center, October 11-13. Terry Yates from IT spoke on Cary’s smart city work and Cary’s Fleet Manager, Brandon Pasinski, received the Town’s “Champion”-level recognition from the NC Smart Fleet Initiative for leading the way to reduced transportation-related emissions and increased efficiency in the Cary fleet. Cary was also nationally recognized, in the Honorable Mention Category, as among the top 70 Green Fleets in the nation, out of a total of 38,000 fleets considered by the 100 Best Fleets organization.

Teen Pop-Up Breakfast

In an effort to connect with teenagers in one of our Project PHOENIX communities, staff joined with partners from Hope Community Church to surprise students at their neighborhood bus stop Wednesday morning. The teens were greeted with donuts and OJ, plus information on upcoming teen events and services offered by the Town. This was a first for us, reaching about 30 middle and high school students through this initiative.

Cary Voter Turnout Data

With elections behind us, please find the following stats as related to our most recent municipal election. A note of thanks to Council member Jack Smith, who made the request for this information earlier this week.

  • Total Voter turnout: 7.67%; 8,386 voters out of 109,278 registered Cary voters
  • District A turnout: 7.3%; 2,178 voters out of 29,834 voters
  • District C turnout: 9.2%; 2,717 voters out of 29,352 voters
  • At-Large turnout: 7.67%; 8,386 voters out of 109,278 voters

Recognitions

Many thanks to Anna Readling for all of her hard work on the Town’s application to be a Certified Local Government (CLG) under the US National Historic Preservation Act. We received word this week of its approval by the US Department of the Interior, as administered by the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office.

 

Emails from citizens this week included the following:

  • A complaint about Chapel Hill Road from Maynard to Cary Parkway (FYI, this is a state road)
  • A complaint from a resident about residents blowing leaves in the street
  • A compliment on the Cary TV ad broadcast on the Golf channel during the SAS Championships
  • A complaint about pedestrian safety at Kildaire Farm Road and Lochmere Drive (improvements are already planned and funded)
  • A complaint about the White Oak rezoning proposal

 

Next week will be a busy one for me and will include staff meetings, a CAMPO meeting, a regularly scheduled council meeting, Cary Town Band’s 30th anniversary, and TAC’s 10th anniversary.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, October 29th.  Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communications with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org and email personal comments to augustanat@mindspring.com.

Category: Uncategorized  
• Monday, October 16th, 2017

This was another busy week highlighted by the re-election of three council members.

Monday I attempted to contact council members about Thursday’s regularly scheduled council meeting agenda. I was only able to get in touch with Mayor Pro-Tem Yerha and council member Smith. Part of the reason for lack of response was the short agenda. There were no discussion items and one public hearing. Later I met with staff to go over the agenda. That meeting was very short due to the length of the agenda.

Next I met with the town manager, deputy town manager, and Mayor Pro-Tem Yerha for my weekly one-on-one meeting. One of the issues we discussed was the new cell tower equipment that will soon be installed on light poles throughout the region. The equipment includes an antenna on the top of the pole, the transmitting equipment in a box on the pole, a utility meter, and other small pieces. The good news is that this equipment is much smaller than it was a year or two ago. Hopefully, in time the ugliness won’t be as noticeable.

My last meeting on Monday was with the owner of the TAC (Triangle Aquatics Center). TAC is the largest public aquatics facility ever built in the country without public funding. They serve approximately 450,000 visitors annually. It is estimated that TAC provides about $7 million in economic development each year. Their swim team, the Titans, are ranked 38th annually. We discussed the current aquatic availability in the county. They pointed out that there are 10 public facilities in Wake County, nine in Raleigh and one in Morrisville. We also talked about TAC’s expansion plans for the next few years. Their first expansion will be to create much needed parking especially since IKEA will under development. The second expansion will be to add administrative buildings to the existing building which should cost about $2.5 to $3 million. Their third phase of expansion will create new aquatic facilities which will make it the largest aquatic center in the country. The cost for this final expansion is about $15 million. The last phase of this facility will create a venue that fits nicely with Cary’s three existing world class sports venues.

Tuesday started with a visit to Davis Drive Elementary. Each of the 3rd grade classes had elected a class mayor which I met as a group. I explained my duties as a mayor and they each asked questions. Then we posed for individual pictures before heading into an assembly with all the 3rd grade classes. In the assembly I talked for a few minutes about my role and then answered their questions. I had a great time answering the questions and visiting Davis Drive Elementary and hope they invite me back.

Later Tuesday I joined Don Frantz in the October taping of Cary Matters. This episode was all about Halloween events. We had a blast and did the taping in one take.

Next I went to the SAS Championship’s Pro-Am pairing party. This is where the participants in the Pro-Am are treated to food and drink before playing a trivia contest to determine which pro they will play with. I was able to meet and talk with several people involved in the tournament or involved with businesses in Cary before having to leave for election gatherings.

Tuesday night all three incumbents on the Cary Town Council were re-elected: Jack Smith, Jennifer Robinson, and Ed Yerha. I attended the election party of Mayor Pro-Tem Yerha and caught the tail end of Mr. Smith’s election party. Unfortunately, Mrs. Robinson’s party was is Parkside Commons so I couldn’t logistically make all three. I did congratulate her by text though.

While I very much appreciate all those that stepped up to run for office, I am glad that the three members of our current team were re-elected. As we go into an era of more and more redevelopment, it is very important to have the most knowledgeable, experienced, and caring individuals to work with. I believe we have that and believe we will continue to do great things in Cary.

Wednesday I joined council member Jack Smith, Cary Town Manager Sean Stegall, and Cary Chamber President Howard Johnson in the first day of the SAS Pro-Am. Our pro was Skip Kendall. The format was a Texas scramble which means we could take the best score of our group and do no worse than a par on each hole. Our group was 18 under which is about average.

Later Wednesday I visited the delegation of visitors from our sister city County Meath in Ireland. Out of the more than dozen visitors I knew three of them from my visit to Ireland in 2011. This group was made up mostly of business leaders who were looking for knowledge and opportunities in Cary. It is my hope that some of them will expand here.

Thursday I once again joined my Pro-Am golf team. On this day we had Gibby Gilbert as our pro who also had his wife and daughter with him. We had a great time but once again ended up with an average score of 18 under. Thanks to SAS for putting on the Pro-Am and inviting me to be a part of it.

Thursday night the council held its first regularly scheduled meeting of the month. There was only one public hearing, no discussion items, and a close session. Several people spoke at the public hearing that is proposing a gas station and convenience store with 20 pumps at the corner of Kildaire Farm Road and Penny Road. The speakers were concerned about several things including compatibility, storm water, traffic, lighting, and safety. I share many of those concerns and hope they will be addressed before it comes back to council for a vote. I am also looking for a compelling reason to have something so large at that site. The proposal at this point seems out of scale.

The council discussed items in closed session which, of course, I cannot disclose. The council meeting ended after about an hour and a half.

After the meeting I tried to catch the Irish delegation at one of the locations they visited but was unsuccessful.

Friday I attended a joint meeting of DCHCMPO (Durham, Chapel Hill, and Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization) and CAMPO (Capital Are Metropolitan Planning Organization) in RTP. The purpose of the meeting was to provide direction to the MPO staffs to create preliminary strategic plans that would allow leveraging of dollars allotted for transportation projects to benefit both regions. It was an interesting discussion with DCHC making it clear that their number one priority is light rail. In a region where we are so connected each MPO’s success benefits the others.

Later in the day I had a conversation with county commissioner Portman (former Cary Council member) about the airport authority’s plan to use land for a quarry. While the Cary council is not involved in the decision process I believe it is important for everyone to be informed so that is the reason this is in my journal for this week. Mr. Portman explained that for many years RDU has leased the land near the airport for a dollar but now they want to develop the land. He mentioned that Wake County offered $6 to $7 million to purchase the land which was rejected. He stated that RDU would prefer to develop the property for $25 million with the use being a quarry. He believes the quarry use would permanently destroy any hopes of that land ever being a park. Mr. Portman also sent me a copy of an email sent to Michael Landguth of RDU:

 

Michael

As I told you today I was very concerned over the role of your consultant and your in-house counsel today in advising your board at a key point after reviewing proposals.

Mr. Kirsh is clearly a qualified consultant in this field and in his comments he made clear to the board and the public that parks are considered incompatible uses for non-aeronautic land.

This fact was concerning because you have park uses in land owned by the airport and has been in that use for decades.

I was concerned that neither you nor your board challenged that fact, despite it being contrary to your current practice.

When I had the chance to ask, I was relieved learn that recreational uses are not only allowed but not uncommon.

Is that fact not relevant to the board’s decision?

Should it not have been a part of the legal brief?

Should the board not have been also told the consultant speaks to airports about how to sell land?

And in doing so states that non aerospace use land can be sold. He was quite clear to the board and the public why that rarely happens and should not occur.

You can understand my frustration when I found on Mr. Karsh’s website the following presentation that seems to say the opposite of what was presented to your board and our public today.

See the following link

http://www.kaplankirsch.com/portalresource/lookup/wosid/cp-base-4-22002/overrideFile.name=/06%2008%2017%20Opportunities%20and%20Risks%20in%20Pursuing%20Non-Aeronautical%20Revenue%20Projects%20at%20Airports%20(PJK).pdf

In this training outline airports are shown how to sell /release land, and how to make money by converting excess land to commercial uses.

I hope you can understand that my concerns are over the process of appearing to use your staff to sell one solution to your board, rather that presenting your board all of its options so it can make an informed decision.

In fact if one follows the logic presented it would cause one to think a quarry is the only approved and legal use for all of your land not needed by the airport and in the periphery the airport. Clearly that is not a truthful or correct conclusion.

On a lease vs sale the board was told it’s essential to lease vs sell to preserve future use possibilities that may not be known today. That makes sense to me unless your lease destroys the land and trucks it away one truckload after another. How could that use possibly preserve future airport use? In reviewing that option how do you value the cost of returning the land to its original condition so future use can be retained? Do you assign a loss for the finished value to the land after the income is gone? Do you attribute the required restoration costs or reuse costs once the hole is dug and the value removed? If you don’t is there not a flaw in your logic? It will still be airport land and a part of our community.

I was equally confounded by the use to authority legal counsel to present the tale of Santa Monica vs RDU. This was a clear example of a “bogey man” argument. It seems to say Santa Monica’s issues were all park related, and RDU should not make the same mistake. I’m sure you know, as does your counsel that none of the proposals before your board were proposing incomparable land uses like housing and commercial development as shown in Santa Monica, except the one you seem to advocate, the quarry. We also know Santa Monica’s close proximity to lax and the dense la basin. Surely there is more to its troubles that your board and the public was led to believe today.

Were you aware of that presentation and its content before it was presented? What was the purpose of that presentation? Was it of a legal nature consistent with the authority’s counsel’s role and duty to the board? Was it a fair and accurate comparison to share with the board at this pre decision moment?

I hope you understand why your authorizing governing bodies have concerns over this process, and that my comments are offered not to be critical but to be clear and share with you real concerns I see as to the role and direction of the authority.

The league of women voters raised by eyebrows to the role of public input at the airport in their letter to you on vision 2040 last summer.

Your presentation of the consultant and staff attorney has done the same. I hope you will re-evaluate this selling that the authority seems to be doing on the quarry proposal and be sure the board is fully informed of all its possible legal and stewardship options.

Was the same proposal not turned down a decade ago? Was it really unsolicited?

I don’t think your board made a mistake in 1985 leasing land to wake county for $1 for Lake Crabtree Park.  I do think they were carefully evaluating options and roles for the long term. That’s what both RDU and the triangle has been so successful.  I hope we don’t change that process due to a new consultant’s strategy to make more money alone in short term destructive ways.

Sincerely

Erv Portman

 

Saturday I attended the 17th annual Cary Diwali held at Koka Booth. Attendance numbers showed over 13,500 people attended. At noon I gave welcoming remarks and introduced elected officials. Those in attendance included Congressman Price, NC Legislator Adcock, Cary Mayor Pro-Tem Yerha, Cary council member George, Morrisville Mayor Pro-Tem Rao, Morrisville council member Garimella, and Morrisville council member Cawley. We were all given a tour of the exhibition tent which was focused on different food of India. It was part of this year’s theme of Anubhuti which means a Sensory Experience.

Saturday evening I returned to the Diwali celebration and provided brief remarks, I also handed out awards to youth who made an outstanding contribution to our community. Then I was joined by my wife to watch the main event of the evening which was Mayuri, an Indian dance group from Russia. At the end of the evening we were treated to a fireworks display.

Sunday I attended the final round of the SAS Championship held at Prestonwood Country Club. I was joined by my wife, the Chamber President, his wife, and council member Smith. We enjoyed beautiful weather and a fantastic final round of the SAS Championship. Congratulations to Colin Montgomery on his three stroke victory.

The town manager’s report included the following:

 

SAS Championships in Cary

An exciting and unexpected opportunity presented itself and I took advantage of it. The Town produced a 60-second commercial to be played on the Golf Channel during the SAS Championship. The commercial will play one time each day, for a total of six times, since the Championship is recorded and played back; it will air internationally to over 3 million viewers.

Producing this commercial was an experiment. It was important for the commercial to have staying power so we have options of using it in the future. I can also see our branding consultants learning from it. I hope you enjoy watching!

Women’s Day Event

Twenty Town of Cary women enjoyed a day of networking and inspiration on Tuesday at the Executive Women’s Day event held at Prestonwood Country Club. Entitled Fearless Together, the event featured WRAL Anchor Debra Morgan hosting a morning “power panel” of local female business executives who shared their experiences in building and utilizing a personal advisory board to guide and mentor their business and personal lives. There were plenty of insights shared by those in attendance regarding “Best Advice Given” and “Best Advice Received,” which were posted throughout the day on giant boards flanking the presentation stage. The afternoon keynote speaker, World Health COO Yvonne Camus, held the 300-person audience rapt recalling her experiences of grit, resilience and perseverance as a competitor in Eco-Challenge, a world championship race produced for TV by Survivor creator Mark Burnett. The day produced new ideas and friendships among colleagues and was an opportunity enjoyed by all.

Cary Showcased at BoxWorks

Dan Ault and Hunter Frank attended the BoxWorks conference, The Blueprint for the Future of Work, in San Francisco this week. Dan represented the Town by participating in a panel discussion on new and emerging cloud enterprise content strategies. Dan spoke of the important role culture plays in the ultimate adoption success of any technology. Without changing behavior and the culture of an organization, the best system in the world will ultimately fail.

Water Production Setting Record Levels

This summer’s water production at Cary/Apex Water Treatment Facility has set new records on three separate occasions. These records are in part due to several water transfers to Durham in addition to peak season water system demand in Cary, Apex, Morrisville, Wake RTP and RDU.

  • 8-MGD on July 21 (included 0.81-MG to Durham)
  • 2-MGD on September 29 (included 3.80-MG to Durham)
  • 8-MGD on October 4 (included 3.89-MG to Durham)

Cary Towne Center Mall Update

Mall property owners appealed the property’s assessed value for January 1, 2016 established by Wake County as the basis for property taxes levied beginning in fiscal year 2017. Mall management hired an independent appraiser to develop evidence for the appeal to reduce the value 67% from $92 million to $30 million. After months of work and negotiation, this week Wake County settled on a $54.7 million reduction in value from $92 million to $37.3 million, approximately 59% less.

The adjustment is retroactive to taxes billed for fiscal year 2017. In accordance with our contract with Wake County to administer tax billing and collection on our behalf, Wake County refunded approximately $195,000 of Cary tax revenue to the mall owners for FY17 and reduced the FY 2018 tax bill by about the same amount. Wake County also incurred a revenue reduction for FY17 and FY18 of approximately $345,000 per year. The tax reduction for Cary represents about 0.23% of our FY17 real estate property tax revenue. This revenue loss highlights the critical importance of redevelopment in our strategic vision in the Imagine Cary Community plan.

NC Courage to Championships

Cary’s professional women’s soccer team, the Courage beat Chicago Red Stars on Sunday to punch their ticket to the NWSL Championship game in Orlando. The Courage will take on Portland Thorns on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. at Orlando City Stadium. The game will be broadcast on Lifetime network.

Carpenter Park Fun Day

Carpenter Park and western Cary neighbors enjoyed a great afternoon last Saturday for an “Out of the Gourdinary” family fun day at Carpenter Park. Citizens got to try their skills at pickleball, gourd arts and crafts activities and games, sampled treats from Andia’s Homemade ice cream and Philly cheesesteaks food truck, enjoyed live music from Lucy Daley, learned about public art from Cary Visual Arts and toured the community garden. Council Member Jennifer Robinson unveiled the Adopt-A-Spot sign for Zeta Phi Beta sorority, while Council Members Ed Yerha and Ken George and other Town staff celebrated this occasion!

Irish Delegation Visits Cary

The Irish arrived on Tuesday, October 10 and will be in town until Sunday, October 15. The group is made of South Meath Chamber of Commerce Members and are from our Sister City, County Meath. The tour of our community started off with a visit to the Startup Grind Triangle First Annual Technology Conference at Cary Arts Center, followed by a tour of downtown and then Town Hall. Other activities this past week include meeting Council Members, attending the Chamber of Commerce events and spending time with Board members of Sister Cities. Thanks to all the staff involved for making this a remarkable trip for our visitors.

Small Wireless Telecommunications Facilities (“Small Cells”)

With mobile data traffic projected to increase six-fold by 2020, wireless telecommunications providers are introducing small cell wireless installations to supply increased data speed and signals for cell phone users. This past legislative session, the General Assembly passed a bill, House Bill 310 that significantly limits municipal authority regarding small cell installations. LDO amendments to address HB310 will be presented at an upcoming Council meeting.

Even with the legislation, Cary retains authority to regulate small cell installations associated with streetlight replacement. Duke Energy has designed a “dual-use” streetlight that contains “concealed” small cell equipment. Attached is a photo of a small cell installation in Charlotte of the type that an applicant has proposed in Cary (they can be black or gray). Duke requires municipal consent to replace existing streetlights with the new “dual-use” pole.

In addition to the LDO changes that are necessary because of HB310, the Manager’s Office will propose a revised Delegation Of Authority document for your consideration at an upcoming meeting that would permit Town staff to consent to these streetlight replacements. Town staff would evaluate each request, determine if there are any public safety issues associated with the replacement, and consent to replacement if appropriate.

Wake Co. Affordable Housing Plan

The Wake County Board of Commissioners is expected to consider the draft Affordable Housing Plan that resulted from the steering committee process on October 16. Thanks to Council Member Lori Bush for participating on the task force. We look forward to having conversations with the Council about the County’s plan and the potential for future policy decisions and/or action plans by the Town Council at an upcoming work session.

Recognitions

Tour de Cove was a day we won’t soon forget. In total, 675 riders and 378 walkers participated in the events. And over 1,300 were in attendance to honor Lori. The event raised a total of $120,000 for Lori – truly unbelievable. While this was very much a Town and community effort, it never would have been possible without the dream and dedication of Scott Hecht. Scott reminds all of us what it means to be a true friend.

We received the following kudos from a citizen and wanted to pass along to everyone working to make the solid waste reroute as smooth as possible for our citizens: “I received your letter regarding the collection change to Monday. I just wanted to say I appreciate the tone of the letter. It was friendly, personable, and shows the exceptional care that the town of Cary takes to its citizens. Thank you. Brian”

Congratulations to Detective Rebecca Platz, who was awarded the 2017 Outstanding Service Award from Interact Thursday morning.  Rebecca was unaware of this award until it was presented for her performance, dedication, and excellence she has demonstrated this year for domestic violence victims of Cary. Rebecca is a great representative of the Town and does a tremendous work job for our citizens.

 

Emails from citizens this week included:

  • Questions about flags for Veterans Day
  • Concerns about a road project which is half way done and an eye sore (NCDOT project)
  • A concern about school reassignment (Wake County Public School Board Member Fletcher responded)
  • A request to make Cary a sanctuary city (It is the practice of the council not to get involved in state and national issues that are political and outside our authority and instead focus on the matters of the town. In addition it would take a majority vote to get involved.)
  • A complaint about street lights not working on Davis Drive (Duke Energy problem – they were notified)

 

Next week’s activities include a conference call with the Research Triangle Foundation, a meeting of the Wake County Mayors Association, a meeting with a developer, private meetings, and providing remarks at the Farmers Market fall festival.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, October 22nd.  Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communications with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org and email personal comments to augustanat@mindspring.com.

Category: Uncategorized  
• Sunday, October 08th, 2017

This was another busy week for me.

Monday I signed Cary General Obligation bonds. The bonds I signed were bonds sold as part of the 2012 bond referendum and bonds that have been refinanced. The refinancing saved Cary over a million dollars. In total I signed about fifty-nine million dollars in bonds. The bond signing process includes signatures from the finance officer, the mayor, and the town clerk who also certifies the signatures are legitimate. The bonds themselves are on paper similar to a check. In addition, the bonds come with an information packet to the purchaser from the town which also has to be signed by the mayor, town clerk, and the town manager to attest that what is said is true. The entire signing process took about fifteen minutes.

Wednesday started with not one but two “Walk to School” day events. First I met the students and administration from Cary Elementary at the downtown fountain. I was joined by Mayor Pro-Tem Yerha and council member Frantz. There were over 100 participating in the walk that went from the downtown fountain across Dry Avenue to the front door of Cary Elementary.

Next I went to Godbold Park where I was joined by council member Bush and Mayor Pro-Tem Yerha in their “Walk to School” event. There were between 50 and 100 in attendance but their walk was much longer at over two miles. And for the parents and others that had to return to their cars at Godbold Park the walk was over four miles. Since I had to go to work I only was able to walk a little over a mile. Good for the rest of them though!

Wednesday evening my wife and I headed to Ruckus in the Arboretum for a fundraising event benefiting those in Puerto Rico suffering from the devastation created by Hurricane Maria. I talked with the volunteers and the owner of that Ruckus about the event and supporting the effort to help those in living in devastation. If you would like to help with a donation please contact NC4PR. They not only have direct access to Puerto Rico but have people on the ground in Puerto Rico to distribute the items.

Thursday morning I spoke to the Heart of Cary Association at the Matthews House in Cary. I talked for about twenty minutes and then answered questions for about ten minutes. My talk included the opioid epidemic, downtown updates, the CBL development at the mall, the Columbia development across from the mall, competition between CBL and Columbia, property values between downtown and the Eastern Gateway, rebranding Cary, and technology. Unfortunately I didn’t get the opportunity to finish my talk on technology. Here are some points of interest from my notes on technology:

Smart Cities – The Simulated Smart Campus is like a sandbox that lets us “try before we buy.” It’s a way for the town to trial a number of different IoT (Internet of Things) technologies by a number of different companies – so that we can choose what will work best in Cary.  The Technologies range from ways to improve parking accessibility, to having Smart Lighting (to improve our energy use and improve safety), to using technology to count people at events, so we can ensure we have the right services for trash, public safety, and more.

What Works Cities – This program is a real coup for the Town.  With the Bloomberg Philanthropies support we will be able to create a strong plan for a single citizen contact center – think 311, to support our citizen services in the most efficient way possible.  The grant also helps us to create an Open Data policy with our Citizens’ involvement.

Waze: The Town shares road closure data with Waze, one of the popular navigation apps out there.  This is a great way for folks to not get caught surprised with a road is closed – as the app will re-direct you, proactively, around known closures.

Amazon Alexa: This is one of the truly innovative activities out there by the Town of Cary.  So many folks have these devices – and the goal is to provide information to our citizens where they are.  The Beta testing of a Town of Cary skill that can do the following:

  • Find Open Gym or Open Studio times today or on given date.

  • Find next open studio date

  • Find who my council member is based on my home address.

  • Tell me who is the Mayor and on the Town Council.

  • Find nearby parks based on home address

  • Tell me when my Trash/Recycling day is

  • Tell me when I can water my yard

  • Let the town know if we Missed Trash/Recycling

  • Schedule a leaf, oil or cardboard collection

  • Find upcoming Events in Cary

  • Find the status of a field for sporting events based on location

  • Get the town hall hours.

 

Thanks to the Heart of Cary for inviting me to speak.

Thursday evening the council held a quasi-judicial hearing for one item. The First United Methodist Church asked that the council approve a special use and development plan to construct a 17,500-square foot addition to an existing church for additional classroom space and a multipurpose room associated with its youth ministry. The expansion footprint would be between the existing building and Walker Street and would preserve the log cabin that has been on site since the 1930s. The council deliberation was very limited and the request was approved unanimously.

Friday I met with two people from MIT that are partnering with us to write a proposal for the Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayors Challenge grant program on the opioid epidemic. If we are successful and get a grant then we would be able to use that money to gather a tremendous amount of data. Why is that important? In tackling an issue you must first identify the problem and then gather data before creating solutions. I believe we can be a leader in the region, if not the country, in providing solutions to the opioid epidemic. We’ll keep our fingers crossed.

Friday night I had the honor of joining Mayor Olive from Apex in tapping the keg for the 4th Triangle Oktoberfest which was held in Cary. This was a fundraising event focused on great beer and family fun to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. There was live entertainment from Peak City Sound and The Polka Brothers, Wiener Dog Races, traditional Bavarian food and fare, entertaining events, contests and, of course, plenty of local and authentic German beer! To fully appreciate the event I was wearing authentic lederhosen and had the pleasure of dancing the polka with my wife and both daughters. I also made sure to eat bratwurst and drink a German beer. What a fun time.

Saturday I had the honor of speaking at the Tour De Cove event. Lori Cove is Cary’s transportation director who was struck in a hit-and-run collision with a car while riding her bike last October 17 and suffered devastating injuries. This event’s goal was to raise $50,000 to help cover costs for the long-term nursing facility where Cove is being treated. Here is an excerpt from the remarks I made:

… The strength of a community is tested in its darkest hour. And on October 17—almost a year ago today— our community was tested. Joined with friends, Lori was doing something that many of us get to do daily in this great town: enjoying our network of streets by way of bike. The difference is that this group of cyclists happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, forever changing their lives in a matter of minutes. As we all know, Lori suffered devastating injuries despite doing everything right: she was riding in a group, wearing a helmet, going with the flow of traffic. Since that tragic moment, she has refused to give up, and based on today’s crowd, clearly our community will not either.

Lori is a very special member of our Town of Cary family. In the ten years I’ve been blessed to work with Lori, I have found her to be one of the most tenacious, life-loving people I have ever met.

[I inserted a personal story here]

She is a superstar, and she’s made a tremendous impact to our transportation network. She’s also made a huge impact to all who have had the pleasure to know her: she’s a compassionate, caring individual, always with a smile on her face. She represents everything that is great about Cary in her attitude, work ethic, and approach. I would ask that each of you join me in channeling some of Lori’s strength and sending it back to her. On her path to recovery, she needs her biggest champions cheering her on now more than ever.

As evidence in today’s turnout, we know our citizens care about others in their community, and that’s one of the many reasons why I’m proud to call Cary home. I challenge you all to continue making your caring as apparent as it is right now. Check in on your neighbor. Say hello to each other when passing on greenways. Hug your child a few seconds longer. Smile. Call a friend or family member instead of sending a text. With a seemingly endless supply of tragedy in the news, we need each other and these small acts of care now more than ever. …

The event was a huge success with over 700 participants in the ride and over a 1000 people attending. Estimates had the fundraising at over $100,000. Thanks so much to everyone who help make this possible.

Saturday afternoon I had the joy and privilege to be a part of the celebration of Swift Creek Elementary’s anniversary. I gave a brief welcome but the star of the celebration was the school chorus which sang several songs, one of which they wrote. In addition, the school unveiled a new mascot. This is believed to be the location of one of the oldest schools in the region. Their oldest gym building was built in 1956.

The town manager’s report for the week included the following:

A Ride For Lori

We’re expecting a big day for Lori with approximately 500 riders and 300 walkers preregistered to participate. The event is at Inside-Out Sports (2002 Grisdale Lane, Cary) from 8 a.m.-3 p.m., with Mayor Weinbrecht speaking during a ceremony at 12:30 p.m. In addition, there is a silent auction that includes weekend giveaways, sporting event tickets, golf and spa certificates, plus Cary PD will host a bike rodeo for children to brush up on their bike safety skills and have their helmet checked for proper fit and wear.

It is truly amazing to see Lori’s work family come together in support of this day, which would not have been possible without the tireless effort and dedication from Scott Hecht. Please, don your favorite pink clothing on Saturday and come out to support Lori!

Solid Waste Rebalancing

Last Friday, 27,000 letters were mailed to households that will be affected by the upcoming November solid waste reroute. This reroute is necessary as we realign our collection routes in order to continue our reliable and exemplary level of service. Public Works received about 100 calls this week, primarily regarding clarification of blue and yellow recycling cycles. This represents less than .05% of the total homes that received letters. Homeowners will receive another notification in about 10 days with their annual mailer, as well as a cart hanger the week before collections are scheduled to change. You can learn more about the rebalancing efforts in this month’s edition of Bud TV, just one of the many ways we are communicating the change to our citizens between now and November.

Cary Showcased at Smart Cities Week

Council Members Robinson and George along with Terry Yates attended the Smart Cities Week Conference in Washington DC. This event brought together international, state and local government officials, industry, and academic leaders for an engaged discussion on identifying tough urban challenges and using smart infrastructure and applications to solve them. 

As part of this event, Council Member Robinson and Terry participated on a panel titled, “The Next Generation of Small and Smart Cities.” The panel provided attendees with best practice examples around smart city deployments for small and medium sized cities.

Plumtree Elevated Water Tank Repainting Project Schedule

We received bids this summer on the Plumtree Elevated Water Tank Coatings improvement project. Constructed in 2001, the 141-foot tank holds 1 million gallons of drinking water and continues to operate with the original coating. Painting activities are expected to begin this winter and last for about three months. The tank color will match the other elevated water storage tanks in town (Hidden Lake Blue). The timing of this project is very important as it allows the surface of the tank to be cleaned and a new overcoat applied, without having to remove all existing coatings. The new protective coating will continue to protect the tank from corrosion for the next 15 to 20 years.

Citizens and businesses will be notified of the project prior to the tank being enclosed in a cloth shroud. Planned outreach includes letters to citizens in the immediate area and a community meeting in November at Fire Station #6, which is adjacent to the tank.

Research Network for Water Management Infrastructure

The Town of Cary and City of Raleigh recently partnered to kick-off a grant-funded project led by four NC universities.  The goal of this project, “Smart Management of Water Resources and Infrastructure with the Internet of Things (IoT),” is to create a new research coordination network and establish North Carolina as a hub for research activities in water smart cities. Research activities will explore the use of the IoT and smart water meters for improving municipal management of water resources and infrastructure. Research will develop a socio-technical model and a cyber-physical model, which will be used to engage utilities and create collaborative relationships with an industry partner and an IoT non-profit organization. These activities will build the foundation for follow-on proposals that will be submitted to the National Science Foundation. The Town was represented by Gregory Jenkins II (Finance) and Sarah Braman (Water Resources).

PD Assists with International Walk to School Day

Lots of little feet were out and about early Wednesday morning to mark International Walk to School Day. In Cary, ten schools hosted walks. The Mayor and Council Members Frantz and Yerha walked to Cary Elementary and Council Member Bush walked with students to Northwoods Elementary. I want to thank the dozens of officers who ensured our youth arrived safely to school and the staff who were asked to supply materials like bike maps, bus schedules and water bottles to round out these walks in an effort to showcase all we do as an organization to support safe multi-modal transportation.

October is Cyber Security Awareness Month

At Thursday’s Council meeting, Council Member Bush declared October Cybersecurity Awareness Month. To raise awareness, the Town will execute a social media campaign throughout the month focusing on different aspects of online security, such as tips for staying cyber healthy. In November, we intend to continue the conversation with citizens as we see an uptick in online shopping for the holidays.

Online Safety Training

Human Resources has started an online on-demand safety training program by partnering with Training Network, a North Carolina company. This new online offering allows supervisors to easily provide relevant training to their employees, enabling them to have discussions about safety issues they may encounter during their job and the precautions to take both at work and home. Providing this safety training in a new format allows us to think about more uses in the future.

In emails this week it was reported that Cary is once again one of the safest, if not the safest, towns in the United States. The data, based on last year’s crime statistics, showed a decrease in property crime. But the news wasn’t all good because it showed an increase in violent crime.

Emails from citizens this week included:

  • Concerns about the White Oak Church proposal
  • Questions about rail crossings in downtown
  • A concern that a retirement community expansion is being held up by the town (this is a typical excuse used some developers – that it is the town’s fault for their delays which is 99% not the case)
  • An email campaign to lobby council to vote for IKEA (totally unnecessary since there is no opposition to IKEA and filling up council member’s mailboxes is a poor strategy)
  • A concern about school reassignment (not a function of Cary but a function of the Wake County School Board)
  • A request for a plastic bag ban (don’t think we have authority for this)
  • Concerns about a proposed development at Cary Parkway and Evans
  • Concerns that Morrisville will connect town hall drive to Crabtree Crossing (this is a consultant recommendation not a Morrisville council recommendation)

Next week’s activities include several meetings, a Cary Matters taping, the SAS Championships, meeting a delegation of sister city County Meath in Ireland, a regularly scheduled council meeting, a Joint MPO Executive Committee meeting, and Diwali.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, October 15th.  Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communications with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org and email personal comments to augustanat@mindspring.com.

Category: Uncategorized  
• Sunday, October 01st, 2017

This week was much slower than the last two weeks and consisted mostly of ceremonial duties.

Monday I visited Weatherstone Elementary, a Wake County STEM school, to speak with the entire second grade class of over one hundred. I started by talking about Cary government, the different levels of government, and my role in the government. Afterwards I answered several questions. I even worked in a few mathematical questions and explained what a hex value was. It was a bright bunch of students and they had great questions. They surprised me by knowing that former Cary Mayor Bond was my uncle. And for the question of the day they asked me what he was like as a person. I told them that I did not know him as a politician but only as an uncle (he died before I was ever interested in running for office). Even though he was a forceful personality he was always fair and protective of his town staff. He was recognized nationally for representing flu cured tobacco but he was always humble and quiet around me. I truly admire him for all he has done for Cary and those who he touched during his life. He was a great man and a great mayor.

Monday afternoon I met with CBL representatives. They are the ones that own the mall and have IKEA going through the process. They presented sketches they are considering for the rest of the mall’s redevelopment. From my discussions with them they plan to propose apartments next to IKEA that will wrap around a parking deck for the next phase. The rest of the site redevelopment will be in later phases and will include a mix of uses including office, retail, residential, and parking decks including one or two hotels. Initially they may be competing with Columbia development, on the state property across Cary Town Boulevard, for restaurants and retail. We’ll see how that works out.

My last meeting Monday was with the town manager for our weekly one-on-one. Some of the topics we talked about included the Columbia and CBL proposals, the SAS Championship, our relationship with SAS, downtown businesses, the location of the staff-council retreat, branding, and the upcoming elections.

Tuesday I had the joy of talking to more than eighty second graders at Northwoods Elementary. They had submitted questions in advance and had asked for pictures. So I used a PowerPoint created by our town clerk to talk about Cary, levels of government, and my duties as mayor. Afterwards I answered questions from the group. The questions ranged from my daughters and pets to whether or not I have met the President or Governor. So to answer those questions about the President and Governor: I met President Obama as a candidate in 2008 and talked with him for about 20 seconds. I also met Michelle Obama in 2012 and talked with her for a few minutes. I have met and talked with all governors since I have been mayor including Easley, Purdue, McCrory, and Cooper. Usually governors come to Cary for major job announcements. I also met at the Governor’s mansion for lunch when we were trying to get the United States Tennis Association training center in Cary.

Wednesday I made a quick YouTube taped message that was an invitation to join the Bathukamma celebrations (Indian festival) at Jordan Lake. Since I was already booked with activities I was unable to attend. It is great to see more multi-cultural events in Cary.

Saturday I joined the Cary Police Department and local McDonald’s owner Ric Richards at the Crossroads McDonalds to raise money for Special Olympics. There were fun and games for everyone and by lunch we had raised over $700. My participation included climbing the fire ladder truck about 50 to 70 feet up and greeting people. I was up in the air for a little over an hour. Next I was the target for the dunking booth. Man was the water cold! Thanks to all those that showed up and supported Special Olympics.

Saturday night I had the honor and privilege to attend the 10th annual Panther Creek Band competition. I attended the first competition as a new mayor ten years ago so it was nice to be present for this milestone. After watching performances by Apex Friendship High School, Cary High School, and Green Hope High School I was recognized with the sponsors on the field. Then Panther Creek High School performed an exhibition. This was the first competition for many of the high school bands in the area. Interestingly the last will be at Cary High school later in the year.

Sunday I attended the fifth annual Moving Day put on by the Parkinson’s Foundation. There were at least a thousand people in attendance for this time of awareness and support to fight Parkinson’s disease. After giving welcoming remarks I joined the supporters in a walk around Symphony Lake at Booth Amphitheater. If you can find it in your heart please make a donation to help find a cure for this disease in our lifetimes.

Later Sunday afternoon I joined other council members Yerha and George in a volunteer appreciation picnic for the Town of Cary volunteers. There were games, inflatables, raffle prizes, and other activities in addition to dinner. The weather was perfect and everyone seemed to have a wonderful time.

The town manager’s report for this week included:

 

Cary Joins What Works Cities

The Town of Cary was selected to join the What Works Cities’ extensive learning network of local leaders and global experts actively sharing best practices for outcomes-focused government. Now partnering with 90 cities across the country, What Works Cities, a Bloomberg Philanthropies effort, is chartered to improve the effectiveness in local governments by enhancing their use of data and evidence.

Earlier this year, Council Members Bush and Robinson participated with staff on an all-day workshop to evaluate Cary’s possible participation. Through the workshop and subsequent work, Cary’s participation will focus on the research and development of a citizen content center by strengthening the collection and analysis of call data as well as develop an open data policy. Staff has started working directly with a consortium of leading organizations assembled by Bloomberg Philanthropies: the Center for Government Excellence at Johns Hopkins University, Results for America and the Sunlight Foundation. “Data is one of the best resources at cities’ disposal for effectively solving challenges and driving progress,” said Simone Brody, Executive Director of What Works Cities. “We’re supporting city leaders to maximize the use of their data to make more informed decisions, develop stronger programs and services and better serve their communities.”

Cary Hosts Area Realtors for Tour

On Tuesday, Cary hosted 25 members of the Realtors Association to tour and share an inside perspective into our community. After an introduction and overview at the Page-Walker by Council Member Robinson and Deputy Town Manager Russ Overton, participants boarded a GoCary bus for a two-hour tour of Cary. On-board, staff was available to talk about the many aspects important to home-buyers, such as permitting process, area amenities and planned transportation improvements.

The tour concluded at the Mayton Inn where the group was joined by Wake County School Board representatives to provide information about schools in Cary. The Realtors have expressed appreciation for organizing the tour and experience.

Successful Bond Sales

The Town held two successful bond sales on Tuesday.  Fourteen bids were received for the first sale and twelve bids for the second; the most this year for a bond sale conducted by the State Treasurer’s office. The first sale for $33.4 million funded Fire, Parks and Transportation projects from the 2012 referendum. The bid was awarded to Wells Fargo Bank with a total interest cost of 2.47% for 20 years.

The second sale was to refinance existing debt. The sale resulted in savings of over $1.43 million over the next 11 years or an average of $119,000 per year. The original debt funded both general and utility projects, so the general fund will realize $757,386 in savings and the utility fund $676,242.  The bid was awarded to FTN Financial with a total interest cost of 1.77% for 11 years.

Cary Showcased at TJCOG Regional Summit

Council Members Robinson and George, along with several staff from different departments attended the Triangle J COG Regional Summit in Clayton on Thursday. The theme of the conference, “A Future Together: Connecting our Urban & Rural Communities,” was explored through a number of topics such as economic development, transportation and water planning, as well as aging community issues. To kick-off the conference, TJCOG showcased stories of bridging the urban/rural divide, one of which was Cary. Lana Hygh and Fire Chief Cain talked about Cary’s role in helping the town of Autryville after its fire station and engine had been destroyed in a tornado.

Other Cary presenters included Jeff Adkins, Terry Yates and Lisa Glover. Jeff participated on a panel titled, “Water Management Strategies for the Future,” and Terry and Lisa participated in a session dedicated to small cell technology.

Utilities Monthly Report

The September operating report for the Utilities Department provides updates on budget and personnel, technology upgrades and developments, regulatory and enforcement news, as well as Jordan Lake updates.

FBI Crime Statistics Released

The latest crime statistics (for calendar year 2016) have been released by the FBI. Stats show that crime overall in Cary is down by nine percent. However, Part I Violent Crime in Cary is up by 86 percent; this is the data type typically used by various organizations to develop their “safest cities” rankings. Part I violent crimes include Murder, Rape, Robbery and Aggravated Assault. Murder decreased by 80 percent (from 5 in 2015 to 1 in 2016). The latter three are responsible for the increase.

We are dissecting the actual crimes involved in these Part I increases to better understand what is driving the numbers up. We will be able to discuss this more in depth once that analysis is complete.

Upcoming Water Transfers

Durham is in the process of taking their Williams Water Treatment Plant offline to complete major construction upgrades. The Durham water treatment plant is expected to be offline through next April. During this time, Durham will utilize their second and larger water treatment facility combined with supplemental water supplied by the Town of Cary and OWASA. Town staff have been planning for the ongoing water transfers and are prepared to provide assistance to Durham on a recurring basis for the next several months. During this time, contingency plans are in place for Raleigh, Durham, and Cary to provide Mutual Aid assistance and to support each other through our network of interconnected water lines as needed during the offseason maintenance and construction operations.

Cary Ranks #2 Most Livable Mid-Sized Cities

In a new study, SmartAsset uncovered the most livable mid-sized cities nationwide and Cary ranks in the number two spot. According to the study, Cary ranks high in livability because of the low poverty rate. The data shows that only 4.5% of residents in Cary have an income putting them below the poverty line, which is the fourth-lowest rate in the study. The unemployment rate is similarly low at 3.5%. That’s the third-lowest rate in the top 10.

Early Voting at Herb Young Begins Wednesday

Early voting will take place October 4-7 and again on Election Day, October 10, at Herb Young Community Center. The first two levels of the Town Hall Campus Parking Deck will be reserved for voter parking. Traffic will be managed with signs and barriers. Also, attendants will be in place to direct voters to curb side voting spots. Please let Virginia Johnson know if you have any questions.

Recognitions

Late last Saturday night extending through Sunday morning, a group of 12 staff from Cary/Apex Water Treatment Facility and Public Works Operations Division responded to address a critical water system repair at the Cary/Apex Water Treatment Facility.  The pipe break occurred in the finished water pump room and required the temporary shutdown of critical pumping facilities to complete the repair. Needless to say, time was very limited and staff responded quickly, efficiently, and effectively to make a critical water system repair in the middle of the night on a weekend. Since the repair involved the operation of finished water pumps, it was extremely important to the water system. It’s very reassuring know that we have such a strong, experienced, and dedicated team in place to tackle these types of operations under the most difficult circumstances. Thank you to our team of hard working staff!

We are pleased to announce that Stacey Teachey will be our Budget Manager and lead the budget function in the Finance Department. Stacey has been involved in Cary’s budget for 17 years. Through those years she has seen many changes and growth in the Town’s services and population. Stacey’s values for doing the right thing to serve our citizens run deep.

 

Emails this week included notification that Cary was the second most livable municipality in the nation according the analysis by SmartAssets. Their criteria included affordable home prices, low poverty conditions, unemployment rate, commute times and others. We are proud to once again receive a national accolade.

Emails from citizens this week include:

  • A complaint about a proposed rezoning at Old White Oak Road
  • A complaint about road construction cones on Davis Drive (NCDOT road)
  • A complaint about a Town of Morrisville proposal to connect Town Hall Drive and Crabtree Crossing (this is a consultant recommendation so far)
  • A complaint about a GoCary bus driver
  • A complaint about noise from the outdoor fundraiser for Interact next to the Mayton Inn
  • A request to continue to protect Hemlock Bluffs

Next week’s activities include signing bonds, a walk to school day at Cary Elementary, a Cary update to the Heart of Cary Association, a Quasi-Judicial meeting, a meeting about the opiate epidemic, the tapping of the keg ceremony for Oktoberfest, the Tour de Cove event, and the 85th anniversary celebration of Swift Creek Elementary.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, October 8th.  Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communications with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org and email personal comments to augustanat@mindspring.com.

Category: Uncategorized  
• Sunday, September 24th, 2017

This was another busy week in the mayor’s office.

Monday started with a videotaping at MacGregor Downs Country Club as part of their 50th anniversary celebration. In my taping I talked about how the MacGregor Downs neighborhood and country club were one of the premiere country clubs in North Carolina at the time they were built and still are. They set the standard for the Cary we know today. I am an honorary member at MacGregor Downs but have never used that membership. I appreciate the club for its beauty and for all they mean to our community.

Monday night I joined eight other Wake County mayors at the monthly Wake County Mayors Association meeting. The only mayors missing were mayors from Raleigh, Garner, and Rolesville. They were committed to other events. In our round table talk we discussed many things especially partisanship since it is within a month of municipal elections. I think it is safe to say that we all believe partisanship has absolutely no place in municipal elections and can only harm the job we are trying to do to better our communities. Another topic talked about was related to growth issues. All the smaller municipalities in Wake County are now experiencing lots of pressure to grow and all the issues that come with it. It will be interesting to see if that has an impact on their municipal elections. Our meeting concluded after about two and a half hours.

Tuesday I joined council members in attending the annual boards and commissions dinner. At this dinner we honored outgoing members, welcomed new members, and heard from each board about what they have accomplished and what they have planned. This year’s event included a trivia event won by my table thanks to the historic commission members, parks members, and Page-Walker members at my table. Cary is blessed to have so many citizens that are willing to sacrifice time out of their daily lives to serve on our boards and commission which in turn makes our town better. This is another reason why Cary is one of the greatest places to live, work, and play in America.

Wednesday I attended the executive board meeting of CAMPO (Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization). There are close to 30 members of this board. The agenda included one Public Hearing and five discussion items. The discussion items included an update of the FY17 LAPP (Locally Administered Projects Program). It was noted that several municipalities had not used the money allocated to them for this fiscal year. You can find out more at http://www.campo-nc.us/funding/locally-administered-projects-program. Other discussion items included the Transportation Improvement Program, the Public Transportation Strategic Plan, and a Wake Transit Implementation update. Information was also provided for the operation budget and projects. It should be noted that CAMPO has a staff funded by all the municipalities. There is also has a technical review committee made up of staff members from each municipality that reviews items and creates the recommendations for the executive board. Our meeting concluded after an hour and a half.

Thursday I attended the Cary Council candidate forum at the Mayton Inn. There were close to 100 people in attendance. Races for this year include the at-large, district A and district C. I am grateful for the candidates that appeared. Interestingly 3 candidates did not show even though they are asking us to vote them in to represent citizens. Here is my take on the forum. Of course, I am biased to my friends who are already on council.

In the at-large race I thought our Mayor Pro-Tem Ed Yerha did a fabulous job. I know him and his thoughts very well and which are very much in line with mine. I wholeheartedly endorse him. Mr. McDowell started off his comments by saying he was running symbolically to make a point about trees. In his closing remarks stated that growth should be stopped until the issue of trees has been resolved. There are two problems with that statement. One, we don’t have authority to stop growth. Anyone can develop their land at any time. Two, a one issue candidate can be a real problem especially when we deal with dozens of issues simultaneously. While I applaud his passion for trees I don’t think that is enough to serve the citizens of Cary.

In the district A race only Jennifer Robinson bothered to show up. Shame on those other candidates. Jennifer has been on council for 18 years and knows a great deal about this town and how it is developed. She has also great influence on developers making sure they provide the highest quality. For me, that race is a slam dunk for Jennifer.

The district C race had both candidates show up, incumbent Jack Smith and Ken Presting. They both did a good job of answering questions and both were knowledgeable about the issues. Presting did mention a couple of times his ties to the Democratic Party in his answers. Any partisan politics creeping into the non-partisan town government is always a concern to me. Jack Smith, the longest serving council member ever, gave strong passionate answers as one would expect. With his background and knowledge I can’t imagine anyone better to serve the next four years.

Saturday morning I spent about two and a half hours at the 4th Dragon Boat festival at the Booth Amphitheater. The Dragon Boat festival started over 2,300 years ago in southern China during the Zhou Dynasty. The festival includes Dragon Boat races, food, entertainment, and other cultural items. While most of the cultural items and performances where Chinese, there were many other cultures represented and celebrated as well. The Dragon Boat races included over 30 teams from all over North Carolina. Two youth with Turkish ethnicity escorted me to my seat before I was called on to provided welcome remarks. After the welcome I had the honor of having my picture made with boy scouts who were the color guard for the event. Then I toured all the vendors and met most of the race teams. It was a lot of fun and a good time for everyone.

Saturday night I attended the Nepal Center of North Carolina’s Dashain celebration. Dashain Festival is a popular holiday among both Hindus and Buddhists in Nepal and is celebrated wherever they live. In Nepal, Dashain is the longest and most notable festival on the calendar, and many Nepalese expatriates actually return to Nepal specifically to observe Dashain Festival in their homeland. This festival, held at the Herb Young Community Center, had over 100 people in attendance. I joined Mayor Stohlman and Mayor Pro-Tem Rao from Morrisville in giving remarks.

The town manager’s report for this week included:

 

Crossroads Ground Storage Tank Neighborhood Meeting

Tuesday evening’s Crossroads Ground Storage Tank neighborhood meeting provided Cary and Raleigh residents an opportunity to view preliminary designs and have one-on-one conversations with staff and consultants. Built on property Cary owns in Raleigh, this three-million gallon tank, pump station and interconnections with Raleigh’s water system completes our 2012 interlocal agreement which further enables us to exchange water in emergency situations with the City of Raleigh. It also provides us with additional storage capacity and increases our operational flexibility and resiliency. Working to address regional mutual aid needs, Raleigh and Cary are partners on this project; Cary is managing the construction and will operate and maintain the tank and pump station. Raleigh is contributing to portions of the project costs. Construction is anticipated to begin summer 2019 and conclude winter 2021.

GoTriangle Electric Bus Grant Unsuccessful

Earlier this summer, GoCary participated with GoTriangle in a competitive federal grant to secure electric bus technology for the region. This week, GoTriangle learned that we were not awarded the federal grant. The statement from GoTriangle is below.

“We are disappointed to learn that the Triangle region was not awarded a federal grant for electric bus technology, but this collaborative application process has better prepared GoRaleigh, GoCary, GoTriangle and Chapel Hill Transit to explore viable alternative options moving forward.

We now know that electric or other low and no emission buses could be a good fit for routes throughout our region, and we will continue to look for additional funding opportunities together to make the technology fiscally possible.

The content and strategy included in our recent federal grant application will help make the joint transit agencies more competitive in seeking future funds.

GoRaleigh, GoCary, GoTriangle and Chapel Hill Transit submitted an application through the federal Low or No Emission Competitive Grant Program in June for $3.27 million, in hopes of covering about half the cost of seven Proterra 40-foot electric buses that cost about $980,000 each, including charging stations and other needed equipment. The largest federal grant awarded in the most recent round was $1.75 million. A standard diesel bus costs about $500,000.”

Good Hope Farm Celebration

On Sunday afternoon, the Town celebrated the one year anniversary of Good Hope Farm. In its first year, the Farm has partnered with four nonprofits to provide farmland to emerging agribusinesses, provide education to our community, and began the renovation process of the historic structures on the property. Council Members Jennifer Robinson and Ed Yerha shared some remarks about what this project means to Cary. Council Members Lori Bush and Jack Smith were also in attendance.

Fire Station 9 Community Meeting

Last week, the Town held a Community Meeting at Fire Station No. 2 for the Fire Station No. 9 Relocation project. The new station will be located at 1427 Walnut Street across from Walnut Street Park. Construction is anticipated to begin next summer. Almost 40 citizens attended the community meeting. Thanks to the FD Work Team, FS#2 staff, and PW Special Events staff for making the event a success!

CAMPO Executive Meeting

The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) Executive Board met on Wednesday, September 20. The public hearing for the Prioritization 5.0 Modal Candidate Project Lists was continued from August’s meeting. The board heard and reviewed public comments. After the public hearing was closed, the Board approved the Project Lists for submittal to NCDOT. For the CAMPO region, 43 projects (the maximum allowed) will be submitted in following transportation modes: Bicycle/Pedestrian, Highway, Rail, and Transit, plus one aviation project.

The Executive Board also received information on the several agenda items:

  • FY 2017 LAPP Available Funding Report
  • FY 2016-25 TIP Amendment #7 and a public hearing was scheduled for October 25
  • FY 2018-27 TIP and a public hearing was scheduled for October 25
  • NCDOT Public Transportation Strategic Plan and approved the feedback which will be forwarded to NCDOT-PTD
  • Wake Transit Implementation Update
  • Member Shares for FY 17
  • Operating Budget for FY 17
  • Project Updates

The next Executive Board meeting was rescheduled to October 25.

Recognitions

Special thanks this week goes to our Transit team for their work organizing Try Transit Week for the citizens of Cary. Thanks to their efforts and the efforts of the regional transit community, Cary citizens, seniors and bikers were afforded free rides on special days throughout the week.

 

Emails this week included:

  • A request to disallow fishing at Bond Park (one of two areas where it is allowed in town).
  • A request to have a man arrested for shooting a dog in Madison County (we don’t have any jurisdiction in Madison County)
  • A complaint that I “run at lunch on the taxpayer’s dime” (yes I do run at lunch when I can. The town is managed and operated by the town manager not the mayor and council. But even they are allowed a run during lunch.)

Next week’s activities include school visits, a Special Olympics fundraiser, writing an episode of Cary Matters, and writing an updated version of the State of the Town.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, October 1st.  Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communications with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org and email personal comments to augustanat@mindspring.com.

Category: Uncategorized  
• Sunday, September 17th, 2017

This was a busy week for me and has kept the string of days going without a day off.

The week included a regularly scheduled council meeting so I started on Monday by attempting to contact all council members about any questions or concerns they may have had with the agenda. I was able to contact four of the six council members. There were no questions since the agenda was short. Later in the day I along with the Mayor Pro-Tem met with staff to go over the agenda. They had no feedback or issues from citizens which led us to believe the meeting would be short.

After the meeting with staff the Mayor Pro-Tem and I met with the town manager for our weekly update. We talked about the newly submitted CBL proposal at the mall site (in addition to the IKEA), housing issues with multiple families, and the Markham trip. Our meeting lasted less than an hour.

Tuesday morning I gave welcoming remarks as the Town of Cary hosted the IoT (internet of things) workshop on healthcare. The group was discussed how IoT and big data can be used in efforts to help with issues like the opioid crisis. I am hopeful that some great ideas came out of that workshop.

Later Tuesday I traveled to a ribbon cutting for the Arkema building expansion. We got our wires crossed and I found out when I got there that the ribbon cutting had been cancelled. But they were very kind and generous and gave me a brief tour anyway. In case you are wondering Arkema has been located in Cary since 1984 and are headquarted here. They develop, manufacture and sell coating resins and additives for various applications and are recognized as one of the world leaders in materials for the coatings industry. Locally they employ over 80 people mostly in R&D. Those employees are mostly PhD’s in chemical engineering. We wish them great success and look forward to further expansions in the future.

Wednesday I joined council members at the Cary Chamber Annual banquet which included NC State chancellor Randy Woodson as the featured speaker. I was able to mingle and talk with people for about an hour and a half before having to leave for another event.

Next I headed over to the Page Walker for the Poe Center annual fundraiser. The keynote speaker was Sam Quinones who is the author of Dreamland. This book explains the opioid crisis facing the U.S. and Cary. This is an absolute must read. My role was to provide welcoming remarks. I also shared my story about being the son of an alcoholic and how addicts impact those around them. That event lasted about two and a half hours.

Thursday the council met for its first regularly scheduled meeting of the month. The agenda included 5 consent items, 1 public hearing, 5 discussion items, and 3 closed session items. There were only a couple of speakers from the public at this meeting. The council approved the staff recommended road and pedestrian projects to be submitted to the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization. After some discussion the council also agreed to Cary’s participation in the historic preservation Certified Local Government program. Bids were approved for raw water transmission lines. Bids were also approved for the following road projects:

  • Cary Parkway at Evans Road
  • Cary Parkway at Kildaire Farm Road
  • Maynard Road at High House Road
  • High Meadow Drive at Cary Parkway

The staff’s recommendation to re-advertise the bid for the Cary Parkway at High House Road project was also approved. This was because in the initial round only one bid was submitted and it was approximately 50% higher than expected. It was noted by staff that most contractors for road projects are very busy and are unable to take on more work. After this re-advertisement, and if a bid is accepted, the project will probably begin construction next spring. In case you are wondering the current construction at the intersection is utility relocation. The council meeting concluded after about 2 hours.

Saturday I had the honor and privilege to emcee the first annual Bond Brothers 5K. 100% of the proceeds went to CAPCommunity Foundation. They support organizations that specifically help children with physical disabilities, illnesses, abuse, poverty, absence of a parent, and more. What a great group. One of the vendors at the event was Read and Feed which is a mobile literacy program in Wake County designed to help low-income, elementary school children by strengthening their literacy skills by providing them with encouragement and by going to their neighborhoods. Both of these organizations are fantastic and I urge you to support them.

My role at the 5K was to start the event and then encourage runners as they finished. In addition, I was able to shake the hands of all the winners in the awards ceremony. There were close to 700 runners in this inaugural event and it was a great success.

After this event I traveled over to the Page Walker to meet with volunteers of the Cary Scavenger Hunt. From my understanding there were close to seventy teams this year. I was told that many of the clues were in the downtown area since that area was under construction last year.

Next I traveled to the Herb Young Center to meet the veterans volunteering to help veterans get benefits. This was covered by all the local media. From my conversations people came from as far away as Arizona to see if they could get their VA benefits. This was the 3rd day of three and there were people lined up around the building most of the day. It is my hope the VA will allow more of these to serve those who have served us. God bless our veterans!

Sunday I attended the Atlantic Tire Profession tennis championships held at the Cary Tennis Park. I had the pleasure of awarding trophies to the doubles champions. The doubles match was a close one and was decided in a super tie breaker. The singles championship was won by a fellow that trained at the Cary Tennis Center for four years as a youth. What a great homecoming. The tournament was a great success and is a great way to market Cary around the nation.

The town manager’s report included:

Cary Continues to Combat the Opioid Epidemic on Many Fronts

This was an exceptionally exciting and powerful week for the Town of Cary. On Tuesday, approximately 150 health care professionals, technology companies and staff gathered on Town Hall campus to share how “smart” communities can use technology to help solve health care challenges such as the opioid crisis, aging population, and ADHD. The NC R!oT (Raleigh Internet of Things) event included various sessions throughout the day in the Council Chambers, a luncheon at the Herb Young Community Center and an evening social with exhibitors in the Town Hall Concourse Area. Mayor Weinbrecht provided opening remarks and Council Members Bush and Robinson attended the event.

On Wednesday evening, Mayor Weinbrecht and Council Member Bush were on hand to welcome Sam Quinones, American journalist and author, to Cary as part of his time in the Triangle talking about the opioid epidemic in the country.

And on Thursday morning, Sam spent an hour with staff and Council Members George and Robinson discussing his book, Dreamland, and his thoughts on the changing culture and values in America over the last several decades and how these changes have spurred the opioid epidemic in this country. He encouraged participants to create community spaces and opportunities for connection between citizens. Sam’s book, combined with the passion of the Mayor, Council and staff, has contributed to the Town’s steps in addressing the opioid issue in our community.

AAA Bond Ratings Confirmed

The Town received AAA ratings from all three rating agencies this week for the upcoming general obligation bond sale on September 26, 2017. Moody’s, Fitch Ratings and Standard and Poor’s also affirmed their AAA ratings for the Town’s existing general obligation debt. Receiving the highest ratings possible results in a lower interest rate for the Town. The Town will be selling $59.7 million in bonds to fund projects from the 2012 community investment bond referendum and refinance a portion of its existing debt.

Pop-Up in the Park

The first Pop-Up in the Park was held on Wednesday afternoon at Walnut Street Park. This new outreach initiative brings a taste of Town programs and services to everyday park-goers. The drop-in audience received free passes to SK8 Cary while checking out action sport demos and gear.

Try Transit Month

In celebration of September’s Try Transit Month, GoCary will offer FREE fares on all fixed routes and Door-to-Door service (Tier 1 only) on Thursday, September 21 as part of Rider Appreciation Day. Other events include Cyclist Day on September 19; Senior’s Day on September 20; and Driver’s Appreciation Day on September 22.

Try Transit Month is an annual event to encourage citizens to try public transit. In addition, GoCary intends to highlight the region-wide collaboration between transit service providers – GoCary, GoTriangle and GoRaleigh – in an effort to provide seamless, efficient and enhanced transit services to the region.

Veteran’s Benefit Action Center

The Herb Young Community Center hosted the Veteran’s Benefits Action Center for the 2nd year on Thursday and Friday of this week. The event will continue on Saturday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. The program, offered through Veteran’s Affairs, allows eligible veterans and dependents a unique opportunity to be assisted by a combined team that includes Veteran’s Organization Service Officers, Department of Veteran’s Affairs, benefits officials and healthcare representatives.

Recognitions

Seven Cary PD officers, joined by wives and kids, represented the Town at the 9/11 Memorial Run on Sunday at NC State. The officers had good interactions with the students as well as the other responders who were there to participate. It is especially significant that three of our officers elected to complete the run in full uniform, including all gear and a bullet-proof vest. This was done in recognition of all those emergency responders who ran up and down the towers on 9/11 in full gear to save others.

The Town’s Good Hope Farm project was featured on the NC County Commissioner’s website as an example of best practice for economic development. We’re pleased to see this collaborative partnership recognized for others to learn about.

 

Emails this week included notification that LendEDU ranked Cary’s credit score at 7th in North Carolina.

Emails from staff included an update for Google. Their current 2017 plan is to install fiber in three areas in Cary including an area near downtown and an area in the western part of community. Google is also piloting a new construction technique called micro-trenching. This technique is a less invasive way to install fiber and hopefully deliver services to Cary residents quicker.

Staff also emailed and asks that I remind everyone about the Hometown Spirit award. The Hometown Spirit Award nomination period is from August 28 to September 22.  Please help us spread the word so we can recognize Cary citizens who are making a difference in our community. If you know someone who helps out neighbors, demonstrates hospitality and patriotism. Nominate them. If you know someone who promotes and preserves traditional American pastimes and creates a sense of community then nominate them.  If you know someone that has all of these characteristics and who supports our local businesses. Then nominate them! Fill out the form online to nominate your Hometown Spirit Award nominee descriptions at   www.townofcary.org/spirit.

Emails from citizens this week included:

  • A concern about stormwater
  • A question about the progress of Google fiber
  • A complaint and warning about our visit to Huawei last week
  • A concern about RDU airport authority destroying RDU forest (make sure to lobby the decision makers about this – Wake County Commissioners)
  • A complaint about the traffic signal at Davis Drive to the Park Village subdivision
  • A complaint about a dangerous tree on South Dixon
  • A request to use the town logo in a brochure (I don’t think that is allowed)

Next week will also be a busy week. Activities will include a MacGregor Downs Anniversary videotaping, a meeting of the Wake County Mayors Association, the town’s advisory boards and commissions annual meeting, a meeting of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s executive board, the Cary Candidate forum, and the 4th Annual Dragon Boat Festival.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, September 24th.  Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communications with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org and email personal comments to augustanat@mindspring.com.

Category: Uncategorized