• Friday, May 26th, 2017

This was my last week before the yearly family vacation.

Monday I traveled to Augusta, Georgia so Mayor Pro-Tem Yerha called council members to hear any concerns and questions about the Thursday regularly scheduled meeting agenda. There were no questions and the meeting was very short.

Tuesday I was back in Cary and the council held its first work session on the budget. The work session was spent on the Capital Budget and Improvement plan. Notes from the meeting included:

  • With our current tax base one cent on the tax rate equals roughly $2.5 million.
  • There is $240.5 million budgeted in our five year general capital programming.
  • Parks programmed through 2022 included:
    • Neighborhood park at Green Level Church Road and McCrimmon Parkway
    • Neighborhood park at Carpenter Fire Station Road and Highcroft Drive
    • Future phases of the downtown park
    • Mills park community center
    • Improvements at WakeMed Soccer Park
    • Improvements at Cary Tennis Park
    • Historic town facility preservation
    • Improving and expanding our greenways
  • Transportation programmed through 2022 included:
    • General street improvements
    • Intersection improvements
    • Carpenter Fire Station Road/CSX Rail Grade Separation
    • Carpenter Fire Station Road Widening from NC 55 to Cameron Pond
    • Green Level Church Road from McCrimmon Parkway to O’Kelly Chapel Road
    • Reedy Creek Road Widening from NE Maynard to North Harrison Avenue
  • There were also significant Transit improvements, sidewalk improvements, utility improvements and upgrades, facility improvements, downtown improvements, and affordable housing.

Our next budget work session will be on June 6th and will include:

  • Discussion on comments made at the budget public hearing
  • Follow-up on the capital budget
  • The operating budget presentation

Wednesday I had the pleasure of cutting the ribbon for the new Stellino’s Italiano restaurant at Parkside Commons which is located next to the movie theater. I was joined by Mayor Pro-Tem Yerha. We were treated to a dinner of tasting many of the dishes they serve. There was not one appetizer, entrée, or desert I didn’t love and I am a picky eater. Our dinner companions were the owners Chef Corbett Monica and his wife Julie and several key people involved in the restaurant. The food was amazing! This is an absolute must try if you like Italian food. I can’t wait to go back. I wish them much success in the years to come.

Thursday the council held its second regularly scheduled meeting of the month. There were three presentations, nine consent items, three public hearings, two discussion items, and a closed session. The meeting lasted about an hour and forty five minutes. The town was recognized twice at this meeting. First we were recognized with the silver designation for a walkable community. What a great honor especially as we continue to work on becoming a more walkable community. Hopefully, they will be back in the future awarding us with a gold designation. The second recognition was from the North Carolina Government Finance Officers Association Award of Excellence. It was the 32nd consecutive year Cary has had this recognition. What a great finance and budget staff we have. The third presentation of the night was the town recognizing 60 years of support from the Cary Lions Club. Over 50 years ago I played on a baseball field they built. We look forward to continuing our partnership with the Lions Club of Cary.

The budget public hearing that had the most speakers. Speakers from non-profits gave thanks for past and future support. There were also speakers requesting the town to budget money to buy open space. Under discussion items the council unanimously approved the bid award for the White Oak Greenway project.  Once this section of greenway is completed you should be able to go from north Raleigh, through Cary, to the American Tobacco trail, and to Durham. This is a big milestone for our greenway system.

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

Budget Process Continues

On Tuesday we had a productive first work session on the budget framework and the Capital Budget Improvement Plan. We’ll continue at the work session on June 6 focusing on the Operating Budget. And don’t forget, the Question Board remains open throughout the process, so if you have questions or are looking for additional information, please let us know.

Siemens USA Small Business Supplier Awards Ceremony

Mayor Pro-Tem Ed Yerha and Council Member Ken George attended a Siemens USA Small Business Supplier Awards ceremony on May 23. Siemens is Cary’s fourth largest employer. Mr. Yerha welcomed the attendees and presented Cary’s history through the lens of small business and entrepreneurship. NC Economic Development Partnership Vice President John Loyack also spoke to the group which came to Cary for this event from all over the United States. Executives from each of Siemens USA’s eleven divisions presented a small business supplier with an award related to their innovation, collaboration and service.  Also attending were Harry Swendsen, Regional Industry Manager at the Economic Development Partnership of NC and Lana Hygh.

April Development Reports

The Planning, Zoning and Development Report and Construction Activity Report for April 2017 are now available. The Interactive development ESRI map also illustrates active, in review and approved development projects. In addition, the current list of development projects in review and the approved development projects list as of May 2017 are also available.

Ongoing Sunshine Trainings

In an effort to celebrate Sunshine Week all year long, the Town Clerk’s Office is hosting quarterly trainings on Sunshine related topics for employees. The first quarter training, on Thursday, provided information about records management, public records and open meetings. Also, Technology Services provided an overview of searching text messages on phones and how to provide the messages if requested.

National Public Works Appreciation Week

The team at Public Works marked national Public Works Appreciation Week on Wednesday. The theme this year was “Public Works Connects Us,” and the day was complete with competitions including cornhole, basketball and an excavator pin game. Davis Reynolds, Cecil Sheppard, Ben Jones and Stephen Miles prepared a barbeque feast, and staff from other departments served the crews. Doug McRainey was on-hand to deliver thanks and appreciation to the significant part Public Works played in earning the Town the Gold Medal Award. And, as always, Scott Hecht’s love and admiration for his Ops Center family was on full display.

Sister Cities Event

On Monday, Council Members Smith and George attended the Sister Cities event, “Sounds from the Heartstrings of Motherland.” This event, hosted at the Cary Arts Center, celebrated the 2017 Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and Taiwanese Heritage Week.

Recognitions

A recognition to the good sports and great public servants in the Fire and Police Departments. At this year’s Public Safety Day competition, the Fire Department swept all three events of the competition against Police.

  • Chad Stephenson took the bench press event
  • AJ Leighton captured the dead lift competition
  • Kevin Moody conquered the push-up event

As for the Tug-of-War competition…some might say it was Fire Department domination. Thanks to everyone who participated!

 

Emails from citizens this week included:

  • Comments for and against the Trimble rezoning
  • Comments about sprucing up the Veterans Park before Memorial Day
  • An email campaign from several people wanting the council to budget money for open space purchase
  • Comments against a proposed rezoning at Evans and Cary Parkway

Next week I will be on our annual family vacation out of state.

Well, that is all for this week. Because of my vacation my next post will be on Sunday, June 11th.  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, May 21st, 2017

This week was a combination of big announcements, events, and meetings on the local, county, and regional level.

Monday I met with the town clerk to go over several issues. Two issues discussed were my visit to Le Touquet and ideas to begin planning for Cary’s 150th anniversary in 2021. It’s hard to believe but that big celebration is less than four years away.

Next I went to the Booth Amphitheater for the Cary Chamber’s Honor a Teach event. Each year, the event provides a $1,000 check to local teachers in the Western Wake area schools for their dedication, passion, and excellence in teaching our children. This program strives to help our school system in meeting the challenge of recognizing and retaining some of the best classroom teachers. This year 30 teachers were awarded. I had the honor of addressing the teachers at the beginning of the program.

My last meeting of the day was a meeting of the Wake County Mayors Association. I was joined by mayors from Raleigh, Apex, Holly Springs, Fuquay Varina, Morrisville, Wake Forest, and Zebulon. The meeting started with staff from Wake County presenting proposed changes to the ETJ (Extra Territorial Jurisdiction) that they are working on. Afterwards we went around the table and gave updates on our municipalities including our proposed budget. Based on what I heard it appears Cary will continue to have the lowest tax rate. However it did seem like most municipalities are planning on raising taxes within the next year or two based on bonds. The final part of the meeting was spent listening to the stories from Mayor McFarlane’s visit to see the Dalai Lama. What an amazing trip.

Tuesday I joined council member Jennifer Robinson for a taping of Cary Matters that will air starting June 1st. This episode will focus on downtown and talk about the process being used to hire the consultants for the final phase of our downtown park. We did two takes and were finished in about twenty minutes.

Wednesday started with a phone call from the attorney representing CBL on the Cary mall site. They informed me of IKEA’s intention to announcement a redevelopment proposal on Thursday morning. We talked about what would be acceptable to talk about. Later in the day I received talking points from the town’s public information office.

Later Wednesday I attended an executive board meeting of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization. On the agenda were four consent items and one public hearing. The public hearing for the Wake Transit Work Plan had two speakers: The Executive Director of WakeUp Wake County and the Executive Director of Regional Transportation Alliance (RTA). They both provided recommendations and feed back to the draft plan. The regular agenda included an item on the guiding principles of the States bonus allocation. The principles would send bonus dollars generated back to the municipality or area. In addition these bonus allocation dollars would be used for projects that don’t score well for other funding. In reports portion of the agenda the NCDOT for this area stated that they are working to get two of the last three phases of I540 funded in 2018 and the last phase funded in 2025. It was mentioned that the Secretary of Transportation is redoing programming which could allow more projects to be budgeted.

Thursday I received a picture of me on the Dowdy Ficklen Stadium scoreboard at ECU from a staff member. The metro mayors were meeting there and were showing all the mayors on the scoreboard. How cool is that?

Thursday I joined council members from Cary and Morrisville for a bi-partisan panel discussion on redistricting held by NC Representative Gale Adcock. Both the Democrats and Republicans have drawn districts to their advantage when in the majority power. This has created an undemocratic process. In this last election almost half of the legislature ran unopposed as a result. Panelist pointed out that majority and minority members are not interested in creating a fair process if it creates competition for them. It is time all elected officials stopped putting the political party in front of the citizens they were elected to serve. Hopefully, I will see this in my lifetime but I have serious doubts.

Friday I was notified by the Chamber of Commerce President that on Monday MetLife will announce that they were adding a third building. This is another significant capital investment by MetLife and will bring hundreds more high paying jobs to Cary. Cary continues to see a return on our investments as we work to create an environment for all companies to thrive and prosper.

Saturday I had the joy of attending the “Fest in the West” event and Brooks Park in Cary. While the weather was quite hot it was well attended. I was one of the judges for the pie eating contest and joined council members in awarding the trophy. It was a fun time and should be an even bigger event next year.

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

Update on Habitat Rezoning

Attorney Jason Barron is now engaged by those asking for the Trimble Avenue rezoning, and he has advised that they would like more time to work on their request before the item comes back to the Council for a vote, which I expect will occur this summer. We also understand that the church has extended the purchase option to Habitat through August 31.

Metropolitan Mayors Coalition

Lana Hygh represented the Town at the Metropolitan Mayors Coalition spring meeting in Greenville and Kinston and learned about exciting developments down east. The group met at the home of the ECU Pirates where the scoreboard was rotating pictures of all the mayors of member cities. The group toured downtown Greenville (lots of new building happening) and medical facilities, then went to Kinston to see some of the redevelopment and revitalization efforts going on in that community.

Town Hall Event About Opioid Issues

On Wednesday evening, ABC11 news conducted a town hall style forum on the opioid issue at the Cary Arts Center. The forum, titled “Addiction: Hidden in Plain Sight,” was well attended by Cary residents and others from as far away as Harnett and Lee counties. The forum was moderated by ABC11 anchor, Steve Daniels. Panelists included recovering heroin addicts, treatment specialists, parents who have/had addicted children, medical professionals, Police Chief Tony Godwin and NC Attorney General Josh Stein. Chief Godwin had the opportunity to highlight the Town’s effort to develop a community-wide approach to combat the issue. The Cary Police Department conducted a “Pill Take Back” during the forum and collected nearly seven pounds of unwanted, prescription medicine. After the very somber event, where several people spoke of the devastation wrought upon their families by the opioid crisis, a number of the forum attendees were observed enjoying the peacefulness of the downtown park and fountain.

Green Level West Road Widening Project Kicks Off

After initial preparation, contractors working for the Town have started earthwork construction for the Green Level West Road Widening Project. Almost 25,000 cubic yards of dirt will need to be moved or used to complete this project. The project is expected to be completed by Fall 2018 and will provide a four-lane, median divided street with sidewalks.

Annual Water Quality Report

We are pleased to share the 2016 Annual Water Quality Report, which is also known as the Consumer Confidence Report. It was issued electronically and covers all drinking water quality testing performed in 2016. The Town is committed to providing drinking water that meets all state and federal regulatory standards. After performing thousands of water quality analysis during 2016, we are proud to report that your water remains safe and of high quality. This is the fifth consecutive year that the Report has been distributed electronically. Distribution is required by law and doing so in a primarily electronic format allows the Town to communicate important information about our drinking water to our citizens in an efficient manner. The cover photo of the report, shown above, was taken from Jordan Lake, which provides the Town’s water supply. A special thanks to Rachel Monschein, Carrie Roman and Alexandra Jones for leading the development and creation of the Report.

Western Cary Meeting Feedback Report

Questions gathered before and after the Town’s community meeting for western Cary on May 2 have been compiled into a single document. That report, along with the video of the meeting, have been posted on our website for future reference.

Bangladeshi Civil Servants Come to Cary

Karl Knapp, Tony Godwin, Danna Widmar and Lana Hygh spoke to 50 Bangladeshi civil servants from the highest levels in their national government as part of a program at Duke University. The program focuses on public policy, service delivery and negotiation. As the Bangladeshi system is unitary rather than federal, they found the local government perspective very fascinating.

Classification & Pay Study Complete

The annual study is one of our most important elements of the Town’s compensation program. The main goals of the study are to: recognize position changes and maintain market competitiveness; maintain accurate job specifications and salaries to retain and attract the most qualified applicants; examine salary ranges for external competitiveness and internal equity; and review all of our positions within a four-year cycle. This year’s study, the third of our four-year cycle, included 465 positions from the Fire and Public Works (Operations and Facilities Management) Departments, as well as selected positions from Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources, Public Information, Town Manager’s Office and Development Services. Human Resources has completed this year’s study and changes will be effective July 1, 2017. We anticipates FY 2018 annual cost for implementation to be at $14,500 for the General Fund and no cost to the Utility Fund.

Council Meetings Next Week

At Tuesday’s work session, I will introduce the budget framework and overview as well as the Question Board. Then, my colleagues will present the Town’s Capital Budget and Improvement Plan.

At Thursday’s council meeting, among other items, Council will hear about the Triangle Area Water Supply Monitoring Project and an Interlocal Agreement with Wake County for building inspections.

Recognitions

The Town would like to recognize and thank Turner Asphalt for generously offering to pave the parking lot at Veterans Freedom Park. They placed 110 tons of asphalt and will stripe 13 parking stalls. The work was completed in advance of the Town’s Memorial Day Observance, scheduled for May 29. This kind gesture will be appreciated by all who visit the Park. Thanks also to Scott Hecht and Jim Hallowes for coordinating with Turner Asphalt.

 

Emails from Citizens this week included:

  • Comments for and against the Trimble rezoning.
  • Complements to a town employee for his service.
  • Concerns about a Goddard school proposal under staff review.
  • Compliments on downtown revitalization.
  • A concern that Wegmans is going to take too long.

Next week’s activities include a trip to Augusta, Georgia, a ribbon cutting, a regularly scheduled council meeting, and the beginning of my family vacation.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Saturday, May 27th.  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, May 14th, 2017

This week was a typical week for mayoral duties.

Monday I attempted to contact council members to hear of any questions or concerns about the regular council meeting agenda for Thursday. I was able to contact all council members and there were no questions since the agenda was very short and had no public hearings. Later in the day I met with key staff members to go over the agenda. The meeting lasted about 5 minutes. Afterwards I met with the Assistant Town Manager and the attorney to discuss matters related to an upcoming rezoning proposal.

Tuesday I met with a group of family members about the Cary Community Plan and how it impacts their potential to develop their property. In the past the Land Use Plan and the Zoning had to match before development could begin. Now the plan, The Cary Community Plan, is more of a guideline and a rezoning request can be made without changing the plan. Basically it is one less step and allows the town to be more flexible. The only drawback is if you make too many exceptions to the plan. Council should only make exceptions to the plan if there is a compelling reason.

Later Tuesday I met with two business leaders who wanted to discuss the future of the 13 acre site that houses the Mayton Inn and the downtown park. Their concerns and questions will continue to be addressed with the town manager and staff.

Wednesday I had the pleasure of joining five other council members at Cary’s School of Government graduation ceremony at the Cary Arts Center. The evening started with a slide presentation of downtown from our downtown manager Ted Boyd. He talked about new additions to our downtown and what we can expect in the next couple of years. Next the council members fielded questions from the graduates which covered a wide variety of topics. Then the graduates were called up one at a time to receive their diplomas. Afterwards a reception was held in the Principals room. The entire event lasted about two and a half hours.

Thursday I attended a fundraiser for former Cary Mayor Pro-Tem Gale Adcock who represents Cary and others in the NC House. What a remarkable person. She is one of the few that understands that more can be accomplished by putting the citizens first and making political party interests secondary. We need more like her on the state and national levels. Thanks to Gale for all she does for Cary and North Carolina.

Thursday evening the town held its first regularly scheduled meeting of the month. The meeting began with the town manager formally presenting his budget to the council. The rest of the meeting included two items on the consent agenda including minutes, no public hearings, five discussion items, and a closed session. The discussion items were mostly bid awards and memorandums of understanding. All we passed unanimously with staff recommendations. The council adjourned the meeting after an hour and a half.

Friday I participated in a legislative update meeting of the North Carolina Metro Mayors. Most of the time was spent talking about the NC Senate budget that was sent to the NC House. One item of good news from the budget was that sales tax redistribution was not included. One other item talked about in the meeting was the legislation to increase the age for juveniles committing felonies.  A summary was also given on the rural day and tourism day at the legislature. The meeting lasted less than half an hour.

Saturday I had the joy of attending the 13th annual Ritmo Latino festival in Cary. Ritmo Latino is a festival showcasing Latino music, dance, and visual arts. I was joined by council members Smith, Robinson, and George. Before taking the stage and reading the proclamation recognizing Ritmo Latino I took photographs with the council members and with The Consulate General of Mexico. I also took pictures with the boy scouts who were leading the pledge of allegiance. Once on stage I read the proclamation in English and council member George translated. After several other speakers the music and dancing resumed.

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

Healthy Rewards Results

As health care costs continue to be a challenge, Town employees continue to make their health a priority. We are continuing to focus our collective efforts on keeping health care costs down and working toward being the healthiest we can be. Human Resources, in partnership with Wake Med, just wrapped up our annual onsite health screening initiative, Of our current 1,226 employees, we had 1,184 participate. That’s an amazing 97% participation rate! Comparatively, employers typically see participation rates between 60-70%. Town employees have embraced the screening initiative and various wellness opportunities available to them.

National Bike to School Day

Town staff and Council member George joined Northwoods Elementary School in celebrating National Bike to School Day on Wednesday morning. Over 40 students and their parents lined up outside of Godbold Park to travel approximately one-mile along Northwoods Greenway to the school. Northwoods Elementary has participated in Bike to School Day each year since it began in 2012.

Cary Recognized as Certified Community Wildlife Habitat

On Monday, the Town was recognized by the National Wildlife Federation as a Certified Community Wildlife Habitat. We join 100 other communities in the nation that have received this honor. In Cary, this means that over 400 homes, schools, churches, businesses, and public spaces have committed to actions in their outdoor spaces for wildlife. Council members Bush and Yerha were in attendance for the event on Monday and unveiled a sign that will be placed in a strategic location on a Cary roadside the recognizes this accomplishment.

FY18 Recommended Budget

Along with presenting the FY18 budget to Council Thursday evening, staff gathered to learn more about the budget being recommended this year. As I’ve done before, for my colleagues who are unable to attend in-person, I’m pleased that we were able to stream the presentation to our staff working in our facilities all over Town. The presentation touched on the concept of “living in two worlds” and the need to shift from an annual budget “event” to quarterly updates using rolling forecasts for increased responsiveness and agility.

In addition, I wanted to share the letter I wrote to Mayor Weinbrecht and Members of Council as it relates to the budget. And, as promised, the article that I referenced about the orchestra Orpheus. I’d love to hear your thoughts on either of the documents.

Foundations for Global Success: Zoom-in on India

On Friday, two people from the NCSU Global Training Initiative were on-site to conduct a training with Department Director’s focusing on the Indian population and specific cultural differences between the US culture and the Indian culture. We talked about the strategies for working effectively with the Indian population in the areas of communication, trust, authority figures, decision-making, motivation and the concept of time. The idea of gaining a better understanding of Indian culture was discussed at the Council/staff retreat. Thanks to Renee and Karen Spurlin for organizing this training!

Leading Organizational Innovation

A cross organizational group of staff attended a one-day Leading Organizational Innovation workshop made possible through an IBM Impact Grant. The workshop provided tools to create a culture of innovation, how to foster creative leaders, as well as a process for implementing innovative initiatives.

Police Officers Pilot New Approach Downtown

As downtown continues to develop and more businesses open, the Police department is looking for ways to engage citizens as they visit downtown. With the new Downtown Park also open, it is even more important in these early stages for citizens to feel safe and know that downtown is a safe venue in the evenings. As part of a pilot project, one or two officers will be on a downtown foot/bike patrol on Friday and Saturday evenings/nights. It’s important to recognize that this pilot is not driven by enforcement needs, rather as another way for police officers to be ambassadors for the Town’s downtown efforts. This pilot will run approximately four consecutive weekends and will be reevaluated at the end of that timeframe. While we do not see a downtown foot patrol being needed full-time at this point, we believe experimenting during this early stage will allow us to set the friendly tone moving forward.

Recognitions

Cary’s Utilities staff presented at this year’s Laboratory Technology Day held each year at NC State. This is an opportunity for utility staff across the state to observe presentations on various topics related to laboratory issues. We would like to recognize the work of Rachel Monschein and Erin Lee for their presentation on Optimizing Powder Activated Carbon for Taste and Odor treatment. Rachel and Erin’s work has been instrumental in refining the Town’s drinking water strategy to ensure high quality and consistent drinking water throughout the year, regardless of seasonal variations in source water.

We’d also like to recognize Kelly Spainhour and Damon Forney for their presentation, at the same conference, on a joint collaboration with Winston-Salem/Forsyth County and the State Laboratory Certification Branch to achieve regulatory standards for thermally dried biosolids. Both Cary and Winston-Salem operate thermal biosolids drying facilities.

And a shout-out to Police and PRCR for teaming up with Duck Donuts for a “Cops on Top” fundraiser for Special Olympics NC. Chief Godwin and Sgt. Burgin camped out on the roof of the donut show while families enjoyed face painting, basketball and other activities. The event aimed to increase public awareness and unify athletes with and without intellectual disabilities. The Town’s Inclusion Program Assistant was on-site to promote the Town’s specialized recreation programs. In total, the event raised $2,700 for Special Olympics NC.

 

Emails from citizens this week included:

  • Concerns about construction fencing around the downtown park.
  • A request for a crosswalk.
  • A request for a 100% clean energy program.
  • Several emails supporting and opposing a rezoning on Trimble.
  • A question about the future of TAC.
  • A question about intersection improvements.
  • A question about the homeless in Cary.
  • A complaint that we should be spending more money for potholes (BTW, Cary will fix any pothole inside the town limits upon request).

Next week’s activities include a Teacher Appreciation event, a Mayors Association meeting, a Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization meeting, a town hall meeting with Representative Adcock, and the Fest in the West event.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, May 21st.  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, May 07th, 2017

It has been a couple of weeks since I last posted. The reason I didn’t post last week is because my wife and I were in France to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. We also spent time visiting Cary’s sister city Le Touquet.

We traveled to Paris on April 23rd and spent a few days there doing the normal touristy stuff and stayed in a small French style hotel within walking distance to the Eiffel tower. One thing I noted was that there were thousands of buildings hundreds of years old. Any one of those buildings in Cary would be iconic. If you are one to enjoy old beautiful historic architecture Paris is a must see.

At the end of our stay in Paris we visited the National Assembly and were guests of Daniel Fasquelle who in addition to being a Member of Parliament (MP) has a duel role of also being mayor of Le Touquet. We were honored to have a private tour of many of the Parliament buildings and rooms and were privileged to have lunch in the private MP (Member of Parliament) dining room with Daniel Fasquelle. After our visit we caught a train to Le Touquet which is on the northeast coast of France. One interesting note about the train was that the French spent a significant amount of money creating grade separated tracks which allowed the trains to go much faster than cars. As a result it is much faster to take the train than to drive. These trains were full even on a weekday and allowed people to commute from distances that would normally be prohibitive by car. I wonder if we will ever have anything like that in our country. Can you imagine catching a train to the coast of North Carolina and back?

In Le Touquet we were blessed to have many sister city citizens take care of us and treat us like royalty. We learned all about their city and its history.  Interestingly their city is a little over 100 years old which is considered new in France. In World War II it was considered the ideal location for the invasion from the allies because of the long flat beaches. Therefore much of the city and beaches were mined during that time. Luckily the city remained pretty much intact after the war. Le Touquet was actually liberated by the Canadians.

Towards the end of our stay in Le Touquet Mayor Fasquelle held a ceremony to honor our visit and the first visit from a Cary mayor. After getting a tour of the beautiful 100+ year old town hall we gave speeches, exchanged gifts, and signed a guest book. We had a wonderful stay and while I was eager to come home I will miss Le Touquet and all the friends I made there. I do plan to return in the future.

Upon returning to Cary early in the week it was right back to work. Most of my town duties started mid-week which allowed some time for me to catch up with my duties at my SAS job.

Thursday the council held a quasi-judicial hearing to hear a request to reduce an opaque buffer from 65 feet to 50 feet. The applicant submitted plans to berm the buffer in addition to creating opaqueness. There was also a power line easement which put more space between the required buffer nearby residents. After much discussion the council agreed on the buffer reduction with a unanimous vote.

After the quasi-judicial hearing the council held a work session on two items. First the council heard from the town manager on the current and future budget process. Then the council discussed consultants for the second phase of the downtown park.

Some of the notable points I took away from the town manager’s budget process discussion included:

  • Currently proposals are made to staff, recommendations are made to council, and council approves a budget which takes effect on July 1st. If something changes in priority during the year the council would have to make a midyear appropriation to fund that new priority. This is rarely done.
  • The town manager proposed process the council and staff would hold mini budget retreats every quarter. This would allow the process to go much faster and priorities to change much quicker. I believe it would allow the town to be more flexible and get things done faster.
  • This year the staff will keep the existing budget process since we are too close to adoption.
  • Staff anticipates the change to the new process would take a couple of years.

In the second part of the work session the council heard from several staff members who investigated consultants from all across the nation to design the second phase of our downtown park. Here are some of the takeaways from that discussion and presentation:

  • With the approval of the 2012 community bonds a master plan for the downtown park was completed.
  • The downtown plan called for a 7 acre signature park
  • Phase 1 of the park was designated for a town square, a central fountain, outdoor performance space, open lawn, and side garden areas.
  • Adjacent to the southern edge of the future park will be the future Cary Regional Library and parking deck.
  • In 2016 council approved the concept for the library and parking deck which will include an art wall that will face the next phase of the park.
  • The library and parking deck are about 65% complete in design.
  • Council recently held a work session to approve a process to move ahead with an update to the downtown park master plan.
  • Staff met over 6 weeks to discuss ideas and research nationally-recognized parks. They presented their findings to council at a work session.
  • The team concluded that when the downtown park is completed it has the potential to be a defining civic space for Cary.
  • To achieve this goal, the planning process must thoughtfully consider the relationship between the park elements and the surrounding development (existing and future).
  • A nationally-recognized firm will be selected to oversee the planning of the update to the Downtown Park Master Plan.
  • Council approved staff recommendations of several design firms who have created award-winning parks and public spaces in cities across the United States.
  • Shared design goals include:
  • The importance of engaging the community and incorporating unique features from the community into the park design.
  • Emphasis on the development of large and small spaces creating the right balance for each unique park setting.
  • Experience working with a variety of funding models to include public/private partnership and/or community foundations to support design and construction of the park.
  • An understanding of the relationship of the park’s immediate proximity to its surroundings be it a museum, a performing arts center, restaurants, shops, commercial and residential development so the entire area thrives along with the park.
  • Council approved engaging 3 firms in a competitive process in order to select one firm to update the Downtown Park Master Plan.
  • The competitive process would include a stipend for each firm to bring their team for an initial trip to learn about Cary, to work with staff and the opportunity to meet council members.
  • Each firm would schedule a return trip to present to staff their ideas and proposed approach.
  • At the conclusion of the process, staff would make a recommendation to council on which firm to select.
  • Funding will be requested in the FY2018 budget

Our work session concluded about a couple of hours.

Saturday I joined council member Bush, Wake County Chairman Hutchinson, Morrisville Mayor Stohlman, and Apex Mayor Olive with dozens of others in a cricket match in downtown Raleigh. The event was held to raise money for breast cancer. It is great to have such good relationships with our neighbors and to join together in a cultural sporting event for a good cause. Now that I have a grasp of some of the rules I hope to play cricket again.

Sunday I joined dozens in the Kiran Walk for Hope. The Kiran organization helps victims of domestic violence and has been in existence for about 17 years. We all joined in on a walk of about two miles and enjoyed each other’s company. Bless the Kiran organization for helping those in need.

Emails from the metro mayor’s office this week included notification of the legislature’s proposed new sales tax redistribution. In this proposal Cary would lose over $500,000. Please contact your legislature and tell them that robbing Cary to help others is not the solution. We should all be working together not against the metro areas.

Emails from staff this week included a reminder that the time for citizens to apply to the town’s boards and commissions is now. So if you are interested in becoming more involved in your town please apply.

Emails from staff this week also included development reports from March. Here are some of the notable items from those reports:

  • Year to date square footage approved for office is 43,024 and for commercial is 148,248.
  • Year to date types of approved housing include no multi-family, 229 single family, and 201 townhomes.
  • 94 single family permits were issued in March.
  • The average single family dwelling in March was 3891 square feet compared to 4052 square feet in March of 2013.
  • Cary had 9.7% of the single family permits in Wake County. This was 5th behind Raleigh, Fuquay Varina, Apex, and Wake Forest.

To see all plans in review go to http://www.townofcary.org/home/showdocument?id=1484.

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

Western Cary Community Meeting Well Attended

On Tuesday, approximately 300 citizens gathered at Crosspointe Church to engage with Town Council and staff to learn more about projects in western Cary. In addition to the presentation, staff was available to speak with citizens before the program at different information tables on topics such as mobility, public safety and sustainability.

This community meeting marks the first time the Town has live-streamed a meeting/event outside of our Town network as well as our first remote TV cablecast of a Town Council community meeting. Over 200 people watched the meeting in real-time or its recording.

Jordan Lake Aeration System: Testing Operations

The aeration system was tested over the weekend and we are pleased to report that everything ran smoothly and as expected. The contractor will complete work next week and conduct staff training on May 19. The U.S. Geological Survey has returned to collect samples throughout this region of the lake as part of our ongoing agreement with them to study the impacts of the units.

Middle Creek High School Parking Pilot

As the result of citizen feedback, the Town is developing a new approach to the parking situation for students of Middle Creek High School and the resulting traffic situation for the area. After brainstorming approaches with Police, our Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources Department is selling parking passes to MCHS students – 26 as of last week. We will monitor the area and document the effectiveness of this pilot as we work collectively with school officials and HOA officers after the school year.

March & April Development Reports

The Planning, Zoning and Development Report and Construction Activity Report for March 2017 are now available. The Interactive development ESRI map also illustrates active, in review and approved development projects. In addition, the current list of development projects in review and the approved development projects list as of April 2017 are also available. Please direct questions regarding the development projects to Scot Berry.

Utility Monthly Reports

The monthly operating report for the Utilities Department indicates that all utility systems are running well and are continuing to recover from the April 24-25 rain event. Jamie and his staff are working to treat all of the wastewater that was stored in our equalization tanks following the rain event. It’s great to report that we didn’t experience any reported sewer overflows.

School of Government Classes Wrapping Up

The 14th class of citizens participating in our School of Government program is wrapping up. On Wednesday, they visited with Public Works and experienced the different components of our operations from snow removal to solid waste collection to sewer inspections. The final class will be next Wednesday when participants will get an update on current downtown events and celebrate with graduation.

Recognitions

The number of staff and the amount of time dedicated to making Tuesday’s community meeting a success is remarkable. I’d like to recognize the efforts of the following individuals.

  • TEAM PRESENTATION: Stacey Teachey, Jerry Jensen, Paul Kuhn, Paul Middleton, Bill Moore, Danna Widmar, Scot Berry, Joe Godfrey, Brian Stark, Kyle Hubert, Doug McRainey, Susan Moran and Russ Overton.
  • TEAM INFORMATION TABLES: Ana Orlowsky, Juliet Andes, Adam Howell, Meredith Gruber, Brian Stark, Glen Baity, Mike Cooper, Loren Cone, LeeAnn Plummer, Carla Witherington, Sarah Schubert, Emily Barrett, Srijana Guilford, Jerry McCormick and Jeph Allen.
  • TEAM LOGISTICS: Dale Naleway, Brittany Strickland, Julie Mitchell, Jay Schubert and Clay Honeycutt.

Spring seems to be picnic season! This week I enjoyed attending Finance and T&F staff picnics. It was a wonderful way to visit our amazing facilities and interact with the people who do the work of keeping Cary great.

 

Emails from citizens this week included:

  • A complaint about development in Carpenter Village.
  • Emails in for and against the rezoning proposal on Trimble Drive.
  • Recommendations for the upcoming budget.
  • A request to sign a petition to support a legislative matter.
  • A complaint about utility installation.
  • Questions about installing an electronic outdoor sign (not allowed with our sign ordinance).

Next week will be busy with several private meetings, the School of Government graduation, a council meeting, and the Ritmo Latino festival.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, May 14th.  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, April 23rd, 2017

This week was a busy week and included a couple of big announcements.

Monday I met with representatives of Columbia Development. These are the folks interested in developing the property off Cary Town Boulevard across from the mall. They showed me two simulations of what they plan to propose. It included a Wegmans, retail, residential, a parking deck, and integrated art. The vision was similar to a cross between North Hills and Park West. If the vision gets built I think it would be great for Cary. But that is a big if. We will see what they propose and what conditions they offer to help guarantee that vision will be built. Council members will also need to keep in mind that retail that is likely to redevelop across the street which is important because we don’t want an area dominated by retail. Instead we, the council and the community (through the Cary Community plan), want an area with a mix of uses. In addition, the council has expressed numerous times that it wants more office on the site across from the mall.

Tuesday was a big day for Cary. I joined Governor Cooper, Wake Chair Hutchinson, and several council members in an announcement that Trilliant was adding 130 jobs to Cary. While most people might not have heard of Trilliant they probably will in the near future since their expertise is in communications to save energy. They describe themselves as:

“Trilliant helps savvy utilities and energy retailers achieve their smart grid visions through the Trilliant Smart Grid Platform, the only purpose-built communications platform that integrates these disparate system of systems into a unified whole. Only with using a smart grid platform purpose-built for the energy industry can utilities and energy retailers unify the information from their disparate system of systems to achieve their smart grid visions and enjoy the benefits.”

The ceremony started with Chairman Hutchinson making remarks and introducing the Governor. The Governor made remarks and presented a North Carolina flag to the CEO. After the CEO made remarks I finished the ceremony with remarks. Trilliant could have moved their global headquarters from Silicon Valley to anywhere in the world but they chose Cary. We are grateful they chose Cary and will do what we can to help them thrive and prosper.

Tuesday afternoon the NCAA announced that Cary would once again receive championships. Starting in 2018 Cary will host the Division I College Cup for four consecutive years alternating with men and women. Cary was also awarded four consecutive Division II Baseball Championships starting in 2018. This will be a huge economic benefit to our town. After the NCAA announcement the local media outlets were asking for comments so I made the following statement:

“We are pleased to learn that Cary has once again been selected to host NCAA championships. Cary’s selection is a testament to our dedication to being one of the premier host communities for amateur and collegiate athletics. We are certain our venues, hailed as some of the finest in the nation, will continue to provide an exceptional experience for NCAA athletes and fans.”

I did do one interview on the phone with WUNC.

Later Wednesday I met with the Mayor Pro-Tem about meetings he will be facilitating next week. We were joined by the town clerk for part of that meeting.

Wednesday Cary received more good news as the ACC announced that championships will come back to Cary. The Cary tennis park will hold the ACC championships in 2018 and the Wake Med Soccer Park will hold the women’s semifinals and finals soccer championships in 2018. We are so grateful that these events are back in Cary where they belong. It is a true testament to our excellent facilities and staff.

Wednesday I attended a meeting of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Executive committee. Transportation Secretary Trogdon spoke to the elected officials for about 20 minutes. Here are some of the notes I took on what he said:

  • The focus of the department is to work on infrastructure including roads and bridges.
  • They will be trying to reduce the cycle of time needed to complete a project.
  • They will be less conservative on projects meaning they will spend money allocated as soon as they can.
  • There is about $1 billion in the bank due to slow projects. They want to accelerate those projects.
  • North Carolina is fifth in the nation in automobile fatalities. He wants to lower that.
  • He wants to improve mobility.
  • He believes the state should share analysis tools with the municipalities.
  • He hopes to have funding for the remaining sections of I540 in 2018 rather than 2020.
  • He expects automated vehicles and other technology to become more common fast. Currently I540 is one of ten roadways used for pilot testing of automated vehicles. He believes in the future individuals will not have cars which will leave a lot of redevelopment opportunities for parking lots.
  • Only 17% of all projects submitted are funded. He wants to at least double that in the next five years.
  • He wants to see light rail to Durham which will help us be competitive with our neighboring states.

Other items at the meeting included information on the Wake Transit Plan implementation, a memorandum of understanding for federal grants, and a 2045 metropolitan transportation plan update. The meeting concluded after about an hour and a half.

Later in the evening I attended a meeting of the Indian-American PAC. Other elected officials at the meeting included Governor Cooper, NC Senator Barringer, NC Senator Chaudhuri, NC Legislator Adcock, NC Legislator Dollar, and Mayor Stohlman. The Governor and Representative Dollar made remarks. The rest of us answered questions or made a statement towards the end. All pledged to work together. I was there about two and a half hours.

Thursday I attended and spoke at a homeowner’s association meeting. I talked about projects in the area of the neighborhood and what is going on around town. Then I answered a few questions. If you would like me to speak at your homeowner’s association meeting just ask and I will try and fit it in my schedule.

Friday I participated in a meeting of the North Carolina metro mayors for a legislative update. It was mentioned that this upcoming week will be busy as proposed legislation crosses from the house to the senate and vice versa.  Items discussed included:

  • Impact fees and how the ones already in place will stay in the current proposal.
  • Billboards which were the 2nd most debated topic of the week after impact fees.
  • Electronic notices which would require public notices on the web rather than the newspaper. It was pointed out that many more people are reading the web than newspapers.
  • This is the state incentive program used to attract companies like MetLife to Cary. The proposal would limit the amount of money that can be given to metro areas in Raleigh-Cary, Charlotte, etc.

Personally, it seems that some legislators are more interested in serving special interest groups (and donors) rather than the public they are elected to serve. I hope the majority will step up and do the right thing.

The town manager’s weekly report included the following:

NC Welcomes Trilliant Networks to Cary

Mayor Weinbrecht and Council members Frantz, George, Smith and Yerha along with Cary Chamber officials were on hand for Gov. Cooper’s announcement that Trilliant Networks is establishing its global headquarters in Cary, creating 130 jobs over the next five years. The company will invest $1.8 million at its current offices to accommodate for this expansion of corporate operations.

“Wake County and Cary have the ideal business environment, location and talented workforce for the headquarters operations of a high-technology company,” said Governor Cooper. “We’re proud that this global smart grid software and communications company has chosen to expand its operations right here in the heart of the Research Triangle.”

NCAA & ACC Announce Returns to Cary

Lots of great news to share with regards to NCAA and ACC Championships returning to Cary. On Tuesday, the NCAA announced the return of Division 2 Baseball (2019-2022), Division 1 Women’s Soccer (2018 & 2020) and Division 1 Men’s Soccer (2019 & 2021). Cary has successfully hosted the baseball and soccer championships since 2004.

On Wednesday, the ACC announced they will be coming back to Cary, bringing soccer and tennis championships to our facilities. Cary has been selected to host Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships in April 2018 and Women’s Soccer Championship in November 2018.

We look forward to hosting these great events with our university partners and the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance.

H436 Amended as Study Bill

We are thrilled to share that Representative Dollar spoke up for Cary at the committee meeting on Local Government/Regulatory Fees. Rep. Reives also spoke against the bill as written. Another representative offered an amendment to make this a study bill; this amendment PASSED! While the exact language has not been published yet, this is a great win for Cary. Please reach out to Nelson Dollar as well as Rep. Reives and thank them for supporting Cary citizens.

This bill will now proceed to the full House for discussion and potentially further amendments before coming to a vote. We expect this to happen next week.

Ban Smoking in Parks? Here’s What We Found

After inquiries from citizens, Council asked staff to look into what other NC municipalities do regarding smoking bans in parks. Staff has completed initial research on smoking ordinances in NC. Of the six largest cities, five have ordinances regulating smoking to a certain extent (Winston-Salem does not have a ban.) Each municipality that does regulate smoking do it in slightly different ways. However, when reaching out to our Police counterparts in these different localities, they could not remember a time when they enforced the ordinance.

NC Mayors: Call Off Travel Ban

Mayor Weinbrecht joined fifteen other NC mayors, including Charlotte’s Jennifer Roberts and Raleigh’s Nancy McFarlane, in asking mayors of cities across the country to reconsider their bans of travel to North Carolina. Chicago and Washington state this week became the latest to reaffirm travel bans that started after the passage of House Bill 2, now repealed. In the joint letter, the NC Mayors reiterated that “the values our cities hold are not changed by legislation” and “our cities remain safe, welcoming places for all people.”

Thursday’s Work Session

After the regular Council meeting on Thursday, staff will also present three topics at the Work Session. Those topics include: a Manager’s operation update, an update on our legislative efforts with the General Assembly, and a presentation about the next steps in the development of the Downtown Park Phase II.

Cary Named Among the 20 Safest Cities in NC

On Tuesday, SafeWise ranked Cary #8 among the 20 safest cities in NC. The SafeWise method to identify and rank the safest cities is based on the most recent FBI Crime Report statistics from 2015, along with population data. It is important to note that we are by far the largest city of any in the top 20.

CAMPO Executive Board Meeting Action Summary

At the April 19 meeting, opening remarks were delivered by NCDOT Secretary Jim Trogdon. Highlights from Secretary Trogdon’s remarks included a new commitment to significantly accelerating transportation projects and consolidating existing programs for small projects to rapidly simplify that process. Secretary Trogdon also shared his commitment to reducing motor vehicle fatalities due to driver behaviors and the department’s work to improve safety. He closed with a discussion on moving up the 540 project scheduled to advertise the project in 2018, instead of the currently planned 2020.

The Executive Board voted to approve the MOU for the Sub-Allocation of Federal Transit Administration Formula Grants to the Raleigh Urbanized Area, endorse the Southeast Area Study recommendations and approve the TPAC/Wake Transit Administration new CAMPO staff position. The next Executive Board meeting will be helped on May 17 from 4-6 p.m. at One City Plaza in downtown Raleigh.

Women’s History Month

As part of “Women’s History” month, our own Council member Lori Bush coordinated with the National Foundation of Women Legislators to showcase the documentary, “Miss Representation” at The Cary Theater. A special thanks goes out to Council member Bush and The Cary Theater staff for making such a great collaboration happen!

Cary Honors Family with Police Funeral

On Thursday, Police officers from around the region came together to celebrate the life of Riyansh Suraneni, a 4 year-old boy who loved the police. Earlier in the week, we were contacted by Morrisville Council Member, Satish Garimella, asking Cary to support the family’s request to lay their son to rest as a police officer. We were honored to be able to work with the family and have the opportunity for Riyansh to join our ranks as a Cary Police Officer. The family was presented with a Cary Police Officer Badge and patch for his uniform, which he was buried wearing. Additionally, Assistant Chief Toni Dezomits and Assistant Chief Tracy Jernigan presented an American Flag, a symbol of honor for police funerals, to the Suraneni family. Officers lined the walkway outside the funeral home to pay final respects.

Recognitions

This week we received an extraordinary email from a citizen about her family’s experience with one of our trash collectors. We thought others would enjoy reading and so we have copied it below. After a little investigating, we determined this driver is Grady McKey. He has been with the Town for over 14 years.

“For over a year (likely longer) we have had the same trash collector each Wednesday. My 4 year old son LOVES him and calls him “his buddy.” I apologize that I’ve never had the chance to learn his name.

Each week he collects the trash and honks his horn for my son who sits by waving hello. He even honks when my sons isn’t there…just in case he just didn’t make it to the door in time. Well, today we weren’t home when the trash was collected. But the drive came back around when leaving the neighborhood, making sure to pass our house and stopped in front until my son came to the window…so he could honk!

This is obviously beyond his job requirements and well above typical customer service expectations. He simply does this to make a random four year old smile each week! This is the type of service and behavior that should be acknowledged and rewarded. Please be sure that he and his supervisors read this and know how appreciated his weekly act of kindness is to us!”

In the true spirit of OneCary, I’d like to recognize staff in Public Works, Police and Fire for working multiple days to rescue a citizen’s cat that had become trapped in a stormwater drain.

 

Emails from citizens this week included:

  • A nasty complaint about my signing a letter asking cities to call off the travel ban. (Folks I don’t mind anyone disagreeing with me but name calling and nastiness is not productive in a discussion. All I ask is that we all be civil.)
  • A request to honor a war veteran.
  • Several requests to attend and speak at events.
  • Questions about the Trimble Avenue rezoning.
  • A request to oppose the White Oak rezoning.
  • A complaint about the town’s plan for the state property.
  • Several requests to oppose the Urban Drive rezoning.

 

Next week I will be traveling with my wife to France. We will spend a few days in Paris and then head to Cary’s sister city Le Touquet. Therefore, I will not post next week. And just to be clear I am paying for this not the taxpayers.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, May 7th.  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, April 16th, 2017

This was my first week back after spending the week in Augusta, Georgia working at the Masters Golf tournament. This was my 39th year volunteering at the tournament.

Monday I called council members to hear of any questions or concerns about Thursday’s upcoming agenda. I was able to contact all council members and there were very few minor questions. Later in the day I met with staff to go over the agenda. Are meeting was very short and I anticipated the council meeting on Thursday would be less than an hour.

Later in the day I, along with Mayor Pro-Tem Yerha, met with the town manager for my weekly one-on-one. This week we spent most of our time talking about legislative action that is harming Cary or costing Cary money. Here are some of the legislative items:

  • H436 Local Government/Regulatory Fees: These are impact fees charged to developers for the impacts they create with their projects. If they are not paid by the developer then all Cary taxpayers will have to pay for their impacts. This could have a $11.6 million impact on Cary annually. We would have to raise our tax rate about 5 cents to make up the difference.
  • H340 Special Allowance for Firefighters: This creates a new benefit for firefighters similar to the current special separation allowance for law enforcement. While it is a fantastic idea, the legislature does not plan to fund it. That means it will cost Cary taxpayers an estimated $2 million over the next 5 years.
  • H310 Wireless Communications Infrastructure Siting: This eliminates local authority to control the placement of small cell wireless on light poles and in public right of way. If you thought cell towers were ugly you haven’t seen nothing yet.
  • S94 Elections Transparency: This would make local elections partisan starting in 2019. Now that is a brilliant idea especially since partisan elections are working so well at the state and national levels. NOT! It doesn’t matter if you are a Democrat, Republican, etc. when it comes to keeping people safe, putting out fires, building parks, providing water/sewer, and other municipal services. Why they would want to make local elections partisan is beyond me.
  • H64 Municipal Elections in Even-Numbered Years: This would move local elections to a ballot already crowded with everything else instead of odd years when people can focus on the local issues each candidate presents. Another woefully bad idea.
  • H507 Land-Use Regulatory Changes: Makes zoning enforcement more difficult creating incentives for developers to sue municipalities. Limits local governments from requiring property for transportation improvements that go along with development. Another bill to help developers at the expense of everyone else. At least we know who is contributing to the legislators’ campaigns.
  • S434 Amend Environment Laws 2: Would essentially cut Cary’s stream buffers in half. Keep in mind that stream buffers protect our drinking water supply. Nothing like polluting an already polluted drinking source more. Another unbelievably dumb idea.
  • S296 Road Improvements Near Schools: Limits types of road improvements a municipality may require of a school. NCDOT would be required to make the improvements. Another bad idea since NCDOT can’t come close to keeping up with road demands now.

If any of these bother you PLEASE contact your local legislators. You can find them at http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/counties/counties.pl?county=Wake.

Tuesday I participated in what I hope will be a regular event, “Yak and Trak”. There were only a small number of people who participated but I believe that is because it was spring break and a week night. The first part of the event was a kayak and canoe trek around Bond Lake. It was a beautiful day and we enjoyed all the wildlife and scenery. Three of us were in kayaks and two were in canoes. Afterwards we walked part of the Black Creek greenway and trails around Bond Park. My Fitbit measured a little over one and a half miles. It was fun doing the exercise and talking with folks about various topics. I hope you consider joining me in the future.

Wednesday I participated in the “topping off” ceremony at SAS. This is a celebration of the last beam being put in place. I was able to sign the beam and have my picture made in front of it before it was hoisted in place. It was a great day for SAS and for Cary with over 200 people in attendance. It will be the tallest building in Cary once completed. This building also signals the health of Cary’s largest employer, SAS, and the health of Cary. We are so fortunate to have such a great company like SAS in Cary providing high paying professional jobs to our citizens and citizens from neighboring municipalities. They are one of the reasons why Cary is such a great place to live, work, and play. SAS’s success is our success and we look forward to many more years of success and our partnership with them.

Wednesday I joined Mayor Pro-Tem Yerha in a meeting with the owner of the Triangle Aquatic Center known as TAC. He shared his plans for the next 10 years which included three phases of expansion. Phase 1 would include parking to replace mall parking. Phase 2 would include additions to the existing TAC structure. Phase 3 would include a new facility with new pools. He said that once these three phases are completed TAC should be the largest swim facility in the country. We look forward to working with TAC to resolve issues to help make their vision a reality. Our meeting lasted about an hour.

Thursday I joined several council members at the Page-Walker to visit with exchange students from our sister city in Le Touquet. They are here for a few weeks working in various restaurants in the area. I will be traveling to Paris and Le Touquet on April 23rd.

Thursday the council held its first regularly scheduled meeting of the month. There were 4 consent agenda items, 1 public hearing, and 2 discussion items. Our public hearing was about the proposed development at two corners of Cary Parkway and Evans Road. Several proposals have come to the council over the last decade and have been withdrawn or denied. This proposal would have a retirement facility next to the neighborhood and apartments across the street. Most of the speakers did not have an issue with the retirement community but council members and speakers had concerns about the apartments. This will now go to the Planning and Zoning board boar their recommendation. Council held a brief discussion on the 2017 fiscal year road improvements before unanimously approving. In the final discussion item council decided to invite people to make wishes and throw money in the new downtown fountain. Money collected from the fountain will be used for our Parks and Recreation youth scholarship fund.

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

April Meeting Combo

Due to a light agenda for the Council meeting on April 27, staff is proposing to move the April 25 work session to the 27th immediately after the regular meeting. As a sneak peak, the April work session will include a Legislative update and discussion around the Downtown Park. Your calendars have been updated accordingly.

GPS Added to Police Radios

GPS Location Services have been added to all police portable radios. This service increases officer safety by allowing the Emergency Communications Center (ECC) and police staff to visually see field unit locations in the Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system when officers are outside their vehicles. Cary is the first agency in North Carolina to implement this technology.

General Assembly Update

Lana and I continue to closely track the bills filled this session. We have updated our website with a listing of legislation of concern for our Town. This list includes the impact fee bill, municipal elections in even-numbered years, and special separation allowance for fire fighters.

Transit Planning Advisory Committee Meeting Update

TPAC met on Wednesday to review public and agency comments received regarding the draft FY18 Work Plan, draft Wake Transit Implementation Financial Policies, and proposed modifications to the FY18 Work Plan based on public comments received. The Town has no proposed modifications to FY18 projects. The most common comments received included:

  • Many existing riders asked that transit agencies consider increasing peak service, midday service, evening service and weekend service on existing routes.
  • Many residents expressed concern over the impact bus rapid transit might have on gentrification and displacement along New Bern Avenue and in other parts of Raleigh.
  • Many comments asked for consideration using alternative fuel buses (most specifically electric buses) in order to lower local emissions and improve public health.

The most common Cary-specific comments included general enthusiasm over existing service, expanding service and adding a park-and-ride facility in West Cary, and requests for routes on NC-55, Cary Parkway and Weston Parkway. Expanding the GoCary service area to include new routes will be part of future Work Plans.

It is anticipated that the TPAC will recommend a final FY18 Work Plan for CAMPO and GoTriangle Executive Board approval at their April 25 TPAC meeting.

Google Introduces New Installation Technology

Google recently proposed using a micro trenching (MT) installation method for their fiber network. MT involves cutting a four-inch deep trench where the asphalt meets the curb, installing the fiber, then back-filling the cut with a sealant material. MT significantly increases fiber installation speed and eliminates the need to dig up yards during installation; both items mitigate installation inconveniences on citizens.  Additionally, MT mitigates the chance of utility strikes. MT was used during Google Fiber installation in Austin, TX. 

The Town of Morrisville approved a pilot neighborhood for Google to use MT for installation. The Town of Cary also used this opportunity as a pilot and did not locate any utilities in the neighborhood. On March 23, Town staff met Google Fiber staff in Morrisville to see the MT installation process. We are happy to report that no utilities in the neighborhood were hit during installation. 

Town staff is working with Google Fiber to determine an area in our Town limits to pilot Google’s micro trenching fiber installation method to see short term impacts, and consider long-term impacts.

Cary Hosts Annual Triangle Bike & Pedestrian Workshop

Last Friday, over 80 bicycle and pedestrian advocates, planners and designers gathered at the Cary Arts Center to talk about recent improvements, plans, experiences, and ideas for improving and increasing bicycling and walking in our Triangle community.

Thanks to Council member Lori Bush for providing the welcome and for setting a great example by riding her Elf to the workshop! After a morning of great speakers and community updates, several attendees participated in a bicycle tour on the Black Creek Greenway and a walking tour of downtown.

Fayetteville v. EMC et al

This week, Cary and Apex jointly filed a response in EMC and DEQ’s appeal of the Administrative Law Judge’s decision in the Fayetteville IBT challenge. Please contact Chris Simpson if you have additional questions.

Project PHOENIX Egg Hunts

The Project PHOENIX team hosted the first Egg Hunt this week. Children of Chatham Forest were invited to decorate bags before being released to search for the prize-filled eggs. Fire fighters were on hand to make the day even more special. Approximately 35 residents were able to participate. Several other Egg Hunts are planned at various PHOENIX communities throughout the month.

WCPSS Cablecast Pause

This week we were contacted by the Wake County Public School System and asked that they be removed from our cable programming while they work on technical improvements. They will notify us again when they are ready to return to our channel’s schedule. In the meantime, citizens can access WCPSS information via their social media channels.

 

Emails from staff this week included the following update on street projects:

Currently we are in the process of acquiring right-of-way for the remainder intersections, which include the following…

  • Cary Parkway at Evans Road
  • NW Maynard Road at High House Road
  • Kildaire Farm Road at Cary Parkway

Construction on these intersections should start in the Fall of 2017.

Emails from citizens this week included:

  • An information request for stormwater control in Hillsdale Forest
  • A complaint about Cary’s downtown not being vibrant (we have been working on this for years and we are getting there)
  • A concern about people running the traffic signal at Walnut and Sturdivant
  • Comments for and against the proposal at Evans and Cary Parkway
  • A concern about signage at the downtown post office

Next week’s activities include a meeting with the state property representatives across from the mall, a meeting of the Wake County Mayors Association, several private meetings, a meeting of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s executive board, a meeting with a homeowners association, and a meeting of the metropolitan mayors.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, April 23rd.  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, April 02nd, 2017

This was the first full week after the inter-city visit and it was a busy one.

Monday I called all council members to get any concerns or questions about Thursday’s agenda so that staff can be prepared. There was only one minor clarification needed by a council member. Later in the day I met with key members of staff to go over items on the agenda.

After the agenda meeting I met with staff members about the Cary’s transit plan and how it ties in with the region’s transit plan.

My last meeting of the day was with the owner of Carolina FC, Steve Malik, about their future plans. He is a wonderful guy and easy to talk to. It is his intention to bring MLS soccer to this area and build a stadium. Cary is not out of the running for that stadium. My understanding is that MLS franchises are given every two years. He believes he will get a franchise at least within the next two, four, or six years.

Tuesday I joined a special meeting of Cary’s Economic Development. The meeting was called to talk about a new Cary branding effort. And while most people think that branding is about a logo, Cary will be focusing on the message. This is especially important to change the perception of Cary as a “bedroom community”, “a suburb of Raleigh”, and a “containment area of relocated Yankees”. Add to that all the negativities of HB2 and its discrimination and you have quite a large task. At our meeting the town manager presented an outline of how to proceed with rebranding. Our first tasks will be to set our objects and to answer the questions why. In the upcoming days the town manager will talk with each council member individually and get their ideas about why we should rebrand. Then he will present those findings at a future work session where council will agree on the “why” of the effort. The good news is that a lot of the research from the Cary Community Plan can be used. Our meeting concluded a little over an hour.

Wednesday started with an on camera interview with ABC11 regarding HB2 and the impacts of losing the NCAA. This was prompted by the NCAA deadline that was imposed which would have resulted in North Carolina losing championships for several years. My comments in the interview were that I still had hope that the legislature would do the right thing for North Carolina and repeal HB2. This of course was not what they wanted to hear and thus it did not make the airways.

Later Wednesday I gave opening remarks at the 14th Cary School of Government class. The first class was in 2003 and included council member Lori Bush. This class was designed to increase understanding of how and when the public is involved in Town processes and decisions and spur even greater community involvement. Included topics are how municipal government functions, what services are provided, and how citizens can become involved. Students get a behind the scenes look at the town government structure, culture and decision-making. This class is held once a year and is a must if you want to be civically involved.

Thursday the North Carolina legislature passed action, which was signed by the governor, to repeal HB2 (for the most part). I had several requests for interviews and issued the following statement:

“Today our State government took an important step by coming together to find a way forward from HB 2. On behalf of the entire Cary Town Council and the 160,000 who call Cary home, I want to thank them for putting North Carolina first and bridging what seemed at times to be a vast and insurmountable partisan divide. No compromise is ever perfect, but if we can focus on and learn from the success of actually finding compromise in this case, I believe we can all have increased optimism of what we will be able to accomplish together in our shared future.”

It is my hope that we can all move forward and begin to welcome back businesses, the ACC, and the NCAA.

Thursday’s regularly scheduled council meeting lasted about two and a half hours. It began with recognition of our long time planning director, Jeff Ulma, who retired on Friday. He joined the Town of Cary in 1996, when Cary’s population was about one-half of today’s population of 160,000.  As planning director, he has left his imprint on many of the Town’s plans, development regulations and special initiatives, the latest of which is the new Cary Community Plan. The plan, which looks ahead to the year 2040, sets out a long-term vision, policies, and strategic actions to guide Cary into the future. Unanimously adopted in January by the Town Council, it is the result of several years of work, unprecedented community input, and dozens of meetings and workshops conducted under the Imagine Cary process. Other accomplishments include the preparation of the Town’s current zoning ordinance; the Northwest, Southeast, Town Center and Southwest area plans; the Affordable Housing Plan; Architectural and Site Design Guidelines; the Chatham/Cary Joint Land Use Plan; and even personally drafting food truck and backyard chicken regulations. He is a big reason Cary is so well planned and has such a high quality of life. We will certainly miss him.

The rest of the agenda included 9 consent agenda items, 6 public hearings, 4 discussion items, and a closed hearing. The public hearing on fiscal year 2018 Community Development Block Grant had several speakers thanking the town for past support and asking for future support. What is interesting about that program this year is the new administration which might reduce or eliminate the program. If that happened it would be a significant hit to several non-profits that serve our community. Under the items for discussion the council approved a waiver for a waiting period because the proposal was introduced and withdrawn during the old land use plan. It will come back to us later for a rezoning request. Council also approved items related to the water treatment plan, the new water storage tank on Kilmayne and the upgrade of the water storage tank on Maynard, and naming rights for the stadium at the Wake Med Soccer Park. It will be called the Sahlen stadium named after Sahlen Packing Company, Inc. The town had previously tried to sell the naming rights for there were no takers. This contract will allow the town to collect $100,000 over the next five years.

Friday I participated in a meeting of the North Carolina metro mayors to get a legislative update. Of course the repeal of HB2 was the lead topic. Other topics included the metro mayors’ visit with Transportation Secretary Trogdon, meetings with legislators, bills introduced on tax deductions, a bill that would move tax collected from rental cars to the highway fund from the general fund, a bill for sales tax redistribution, and a bill allowing providers to have total control of putting communication equipment in right-of-ways. Our meeting lasted a little over half an hour.

Saturday I participated in the ribbon cutting for Midtown Square. Here is an excerpt from my remarks that I spoke from:

“… Cutting the ribbon to this project today is a testament of what great redevelopment looks like in our downtown. It is wonderful to see all the active downtown redevelopment projects which is making our downtown more of a destination area. And there is more to come, especially with our downtown park which is now opened and has several activities already planned. Multiple people are already taking in the view of the fountain, the activity center, and just enjoying a day downtown.

While learning about this development, I came across a neat fact about the midtown logo – the locomotive. As we come up on our incorporation date of April 3, 1871, it is important to note that without the train, Cary would not be here. The Midtown logo is a representation of the Cary Train that will be revealed later this year with the year of our incorporation date, 1871, reflected on the locomotive. So stay tuned for another celebration when the Town welcomes the locomotive online.

In closing I would like to thank the Jordan Family, Jordan Gussenhoven and George Jordan, for their commitment to downtown. …”

 

The town manager’s report this week included:

Council/Staff Retreat Report

We have put together the Council/Staff Retreat Report, which is the first step in reporting our process on the issues and ideas discussed at the retreat. The document includes a look back at the retreat sessions, shares Council’s list of priorities, and provides some next steps to guide our future progress. We are interested in finding out if these high level summaries of the different sessions, as well as the list of Council priorities, match what you heard and syncs with your recollection of our conversations.

Town Hall Day

Lana, Allison and I joined Council member Jennifer Robinson at the NC League of Municipalities Town Hall Day at the General Assembly on Wednesday. Town Hall Day hosts elected officials and managers from across the state to speak to legislators about issues important to municipalities. Similar to last year, Lana organized a Wake County delegation luncheon to provide a convenient space for all delegates to meet with their municipal partners. Staff and elected officials from Morrisville, Holly Springs, Knightdale, Wake Forest and Zebulon participated. We were able to interact with Senators Alexander and Chaudhuri, and Representatives Adcock, Holley, John and Williams at the luncheon. Members of our group also had the opportunity to speak with Senator Barringer and Representative Dollar.

School of Government Kick Off

On Wednesday evening, the 14th School of Government class, made up of a diverse group of 26 Cary citizens, convened for the introductory session. The participants first got to hear from almost all Council members about how important it is to have engaged citizens and provided background to the class on how they first got involved with Town government. Then, I had the opportunity to play professor and teach about our Council-Manager form of government and share my views on the role of local government. Chris Simpson provided context from the Town Attorneys Office and facts around topics like open meeting laws. Ginny Johnson closed the evening with prizes and information about the Town Clerk’s role supporting Council and managing the Town’s Hillcrest Cemetery.

Supporting the STOP ACT

Assistant Police Chief Tracy Jernigan accompanied the president of the Association of Police Chiefs, Mike Yaniero (Jacksonville PD) to the Attorney General’s Office on Thursday in support of the STOP Bill that is before the legislature. This bill would be great legislation to begin addressing the opioid issue in North Carolina. The AG, Josh Stein, specifically asked if Cary PD could attend since we had done some media on the issue as well as specifically referenced Cary in his comments.

Google Fiber Install at USA Baseball

On Tuesday, Google’s Gigabit Fiber Service was installed at the USA Baseball National Training Complex at Thomas Brooks Park. This service provides high speed internet connectivity for facility and USA Baseball staff. It also offers video streaming capabilities for events and the foundation for public Wi-Fi service. Cary was selected to be the first municipality to test out this new service offering.

Regional Assistance During Water Main Break Response

Earlier this week, staff responded to two separate water main breaks along Waldo Rood Boulevard. Both breaks occurred along a major water transmission main and temporarily shut down sections of a 30-inch and 36-inch main for repair operations. This resulted in a bottleneck in the water system that substantially reduced our ability to adequately supply water to meet the demands of the Central Pressure Zone.

Cary staff called upon Raleigh to provide water under our mutual aid agreement. Raleigh staff responded within 30 minutes of the call and immediately worked to implement a water transfer to Cary through the Trinity Road Pump Station. During the repair, Raleigh supplied approximately 6.5 million gallons of water to the Central Pressure Zone of Cary.

Cary also called upon assistance from Holly Springs, which has an interconnection with Cary’s Southern Pressure Zone. Cary staff recently tested the Holly Springs interconnection by sending water to Holly Springs. This week, Cary and Holly Springs reversed the flow direction and Holly Springs sent approximately 1.4 million gallons to Cary during the repair operations.

We are very thankful for our interconnections with neighboring utilities and especially grateful to our neighbors who provided both timely and vital assistance to us during these critical water main repair operations.

TCAP Meeting Debrief

At their meeting on Wednesday, the Transit Planning Advisory Committee (TPAC) voted to release the Wake County Transit Plan (WCTP) Master Participation Agreement for local governing board consideration. The Master Participation Agreement is a long-term agreement between all regional partners that documents the high level ground rules for implementation of the Plan and will allow participation in Plan revenues. This action now permits each WCTP partner to bring the Agreement to their governing board for review and this will be a staff report for Council in the near future.

Downtown Park Conditional Certificate of Occupancy

Last Friday, the Town received conditional certificate of occupancy and therefore substantial completion of the Downtown Park. Additional site amenities are at the warehouse and are scheduled for installation by Public Works now that we are at this stage. With the conditional CO in hand and given how many people are out there enjoying it, wanted to let you know that staff will be getting together to plan the celebration event being sure to set it on a day when all Council members are available. Look for information in the next few weeks from Ginny.

Annual Water Disinfection Change Coming to an End

The annual water disinfection change that is conducted each March is coming to an end. The disinfection change to free chlorine combined with extensive water system flushing of the Town’s 1,035 miles of water system pipelines is an important part of the Town’s comprehensive water system maintenance program. The Cary/Apex Water Treatment Facility will resume normal disinfection starting on Monday, April 3.

Recognitions

I’d like to give a pat on the back to everyone involved in this week’s water main break repair operations. We work with amazing professionals who executed a quick response by setting up a command center and mobilizing the technical expertise in the field. It took a coordinated ONECary effort with leadership from Utilities, Public Works, Fire, and PIO. Thanks to everyone’s work, we can say that not a single citizen lost water throughout the break and subsequent repairs. Huge accomplishment!  

And over the past week we experienced a number of notable retirements. We’d like to recognize the career and dedication of Jeff Ulma, Planning Director; Ray Boylston, Transit Services Administrator; Assistant Police Chief Scott Davis, and Houston Hinton, Solid Waste Division.

 

Staff’s February Construction and Activity report, Planning and Development report, and construction activity report included the following interesting notes:

  • The average square footage was 4140 square feet compared to 3903 square feet in 2013.
  • Cary had 14.1% of the county’s single family permits which was 2nd to Raleigh which had 22%.
  • Cary’s permits were up 97% from the previous month
  • 3 development plans were approved and included a storage facility, a church expansion, and a sidewalk connection.

Emails from citizens this week included:

  • An email campaign complaining about smoking in public places.
  • An email campaign complaining about not supporting the Atlantic Coast pipeline (not a town function – we have a policy not to get involved in political matters unless is has a direct impact on us and 100% of the council supports thee action)
  • Compliments on the downtown fountain.
  • A complaint about the bridge at Bond Park Lake (already scheduled for repair).
  • A complaint about the intersection of Yates Store Road and Carpenter Fire Station Road (This is a state intersection and state roads. We are working with them on possible improvements).
  • A request and complaint that we won’t make a public statement against a house bill to cap school size (again not a town function and would take all the council to take such an action).

Well, that is all for this week. I will spend the next week on vacation in Augusta, Georgia. My next post will be on Sunday, April 16th.  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, March 27th, 2017

This week was spent taking care of my wife after minor surgery and an intercity visit to Scottsdale, Arizona.

On Monday my wife had minor surgery that went well and I spent the time until Wednesday being with her.

Wednesday I joined the entire council and 50 others in a trip to Scottsdale, Arizona. Topics included rebranding, education, transit oriented development, and redevelopment. Scottsdale has significant similarities with Cary such as branding their high quality of life, distinguishing themselves from a major city (Phoenix), and redeveloping old areas of town. They also have many differences such as an unstable council which is divided, 8 city managers in 6 years, and being known as a tourist destination.

Thursday morning the delegation toured SkySong in Scottsdale. This was a mixed use redevelopment project of an old mall. The mix of uses was nice but what made the redevelopment stand out was the architectural structure (similar to the Denver Airport). One of the points taken from this visit was that redevelopment can integrate architectural structures to make a typical redevelopment very special. I was honored to meet and talk with Mayor Jim Lane of Scottsdale. I presented him a small gift from the town. Most of our time was spent talking about branding.

Later Thursday the delegation visited Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. There I met Mayor Mark Mitchell. He was a very high energy, intense individual with a lot of passion for his city. He mentioned that while some university cities battle with universities, they embrace theirs and partner with Arizona State. The visit emphasized the point that partnerships are almost always beneficial.

After lunch the delegation heard from several speakers including the president of Arizona State, Michael Crow. He is probably one of the most amazing speakers I have ever heard. Some of the statistics he quoted were fascinating. For example, there was a direct correlation between high school dropouts and government assistance. As a result of that fact he embarked on a campaign to help 100% of students graduate from high school. In addition, if an Arizona resident has a B average or better they are guaranteed admission to Arizona State. As a result Arizona State has the largest student enrollment in the country which would make you think it would hurt their 4 year graduation rate. Instead the opposite occurred and the university is now ranked among the university leaders in various fields. Their charter states:

“ASU is a comprehensive public research university, measured not by whom it excludes, but by whom it includes and how they succeed; advancing research and discovery of public value; and assuming fundamental responsibility for the economic, social, cultural and overall health of the communities it serves.”

Simply amazing. One of the points I took away is to always consider non-conventional ideas. You never know how successful it might be.

Next we visited light rail in Tempe to look at transit oriented development. Compared to Charlotte they are in the very beginning stages.

Our final destination of the day was at Scottsdale Stadium to watch a spring training game between the Scottsdale home team San Francisco Giants and the Seattle Mariners. Seattle won 9 to 2. Our first full day was informational, long, but fun. Needless to say we all slept well.

Friday we visited the Scottsdale Museum and listened how a public-private partnership made that happen in just a few short years. I was glad that we had major Cary stakeholders on this trip. It was a great example of what can be done when everyone works together. After our talk I even had a few minutes to tour and did a stare down with a stuffed bison.

Next we visited a redevelopment project on the canal that goes through Phoenix, Scottsdale and the valley region. It was similar to a river walk and included shops, restaurants, and residential. Some of the high in residential went for over $3 million. The two main developers spoke to us and I then invited them to sit and talk with me for lunch. Over lunch I heard about their trials and tribulations getting things passed. According to them the main hurdle was having a council that was willing to face a public outcry from something drastically different than anyone had seen in the area before.

After the redevelopment project the delegation members had about 4 hours to explore on their own. I was fascinated with the desert landscape and how shade and water was a precious resource. All development seemed to incorporate something that addressed these two issues. Interestingly in Cary we face the opposite. That is, we always have to consider heavy rain storms and runoff.

In the evening we had the joy of enjoying Western BBQ sponsored by several Cary business leaders. It was a BBQ with sauce that was slightly sweet. I loved it.

The trip was a great success. In between destinations I had a lot of time to talk with developers and business leaders. I am excited about the ideas and energy gained from this trip and can’t wait to see what we can do in Cary.

Emails from citizens this week included:

  • A request for lighted pickle ball courts
  • A request for an interview
  • A request for a proclamation
  • A complaint about Middle Creek students parking in neighborhoods
  • A question about stormwater management
  • A question about our future Jordan Lake aeration system
  • Questions about the Alston Town Center
  • A request to take action against a legislative bill to reduce class size
  • A complaint about dangerous traffic at Yates Store Road and Carpenter Fire Station Road (state roads)
  • An FYI from a resident that is moving because of noise made at the Wake Med Soccer park

Next week will also be busy for me. It will include a meeting with Steve Malik of Carolina FC, an Economic Development meeting, a work session on the Chatham County plan, Cary School of Government kickoff, the retirement of our Planning Director and our Transit Manager, our second council meeting of the month, the Spring Litter Sweep, and the ribbon cutting for Mid-Town Square.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, April 2nd.  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, March 19th, 2017

This was another busy week for me which is typical for this time of year.

Monday started with my weekly one on one meeting with the town manager. We talked about several issues including the potential development proposal by Columbia Development to include a Wegmans across from the mall. Our meeting lasted about half an hour.

Later Monday several staff members met with the owner of Jira development and several other business leaders to talk about the Diversity Summit this past January. Originally Rachael Dolezal was supposed to be a part of the summit. While Jira selected Dolezal the town took criticism which included several pastors from the African American community. Eventually Rachael Dolezal was pulled from participating at the summit. The leader from Jira complained that the town knew about Dolezal and did nothing until there were complaints and then “threw them under the bus”. Needless to say this was a learning experience for all of us and fingers can be pointed in all directions. I am sure as we move forward the town will make sure that we do not see these types of issues again.

Monday night I attended the soft opening of the new Ruckus in Apex in the Costco shopping center. Interestingly the developers of that project talked to Cary about putting that development in MacGregor Village at one point.

Tuesday I joined council member Jack Smith in a taping of Cary Matters. Our topic was the Wake County Transit Plan and how it will impact Cary. We were able to do the episode one take.

Wednesday I participated in the Executive Board meeting of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization. There were no big decision points that impacted Cary. Several items were presented as information.

Later Wednesday I became ill and was unable to attend PRCR volunteer recognition banquet which was disappointing. This was the first one I have missed and I apologize for missing the opportunity to thank all those who helped make our parks the greatest in the nation. Fortunately, after 11 hours sleep and a little cold duration reduction medicine I was good to go on Thursday.

Thursday I facilitated a meeting of the Cary/Apex Water Treatment Facility Advisory Committee. One of the features of this partnership is an annual meeting to address capital and operational budget proposals for the upcoming fiscal year. These were presented by staff and agreed on by the committee to be forwarded to the Cary and Apex council for approval.

Later Thursday I facilitated a meeting of the Western Wake Partners Policy Advisory Committee. Each year this committee meets to address capital and operating proposals for the upcoming fiscal year. After the proposals from staff the committee unanimously approved the staff recommendations for operating and capital expenditures.

Friday I joined a meeting of the North Carolina Metro Mayors for a legislative update. Topics discussed included the strong likelihood that HB2 will stay, the potential attempt by the state to take over water systems (again), sanctuary cities, sunshine laws as it pertains to text messages, exempting airport runways from fees, authorization for cities to provide broadband and internet, and small cell technology (on streetlight poles) to be in public right-of-way.

Saturday I gave remarks at Cary’s Arbor Day celebration. Here are excerpts from my remarks as we accepted our designation as a Tree City USA for the 34th time:

I am deeply honored to accept the Tree City USA designation on behalf of our citizens and am excited to continue our community’s tradition of celebrating the importance of trees.

The National Arbor Day Foundation awards this certification to communities of all sizes that meet strict criteria. One of these is the observation of Arbor Day like we’re doing today. Another is the investment in trees based on your community’s population, which I’m proud to report we went well above and beyond.  Another reason is because of the countless hours donated by our Spruce volunteers. Each year thousands of volunteers collects tons of litter, build gardens, restore stream banks, plant trees, and beautify our Town. Spruce volunteers tackle projects both large and small, but all of them play an important role in building a culture of conservation in Cary.  From planting 200 young trees along the banks of Swift Creek to collecting 6,288 pounds of litter in one single day at our Fall Litter Sweep. These dedicated volunteers help make our community great!

Many of you will leave here today holding a tree with the goal of improving the look of your yard. I want to challenge you to find a few hours in your schedule to help improve our community by joining friends and family and volunteering with Spruce. We have a Spring Litter Sweep on April 1 where we’ll take to parks and neighborhoods for some outdoor beautification. And please don’t forget to check out the Earth Day Celebration as part of Spring Daze Arts & Crafts Festival on April 29.

Tree-lined streets and preserved open spaces are a defining characteristic of our community, and we know our citizens care deeply about tree preservation. Thanks for keeping Cary clean, green, and beautiful.

After a proclamation I visited the booths that were set up with various green initiatives. I took home a Fringe Tree sapling that was being handed out to visitors. What a great tradition for Cary.

Saturday evening I joined over 100 folks from our Chinese community at the Mayton Inn. I was introduced to several as they celebrated their businesses and St Patrick’s Day. I must have taken 60 pictures with guests. I am so proud to live in a diverse community that embraces our differences and different cultures.

Sunday I had the honor of giving welcome remarks at the 8th Tobacco Road Marathon. I have been fortunate to do this since the very first one. It was amazing watching over 5,000 runners cross the starting line. And it took them just over 7 minutes to do it. What a great event for Cary.

The town manager’s report for this week included:

Bond Brothers Wins Contest!

USA Today announced the winner of their Best New Brewery in the country and the winner is right here in Cary! Bond Brothers came out on top among an initial 20 nominees and was chosen by a panel of experts that partnered with editors from USA Today.

Son Arrested in 2015 Death of his Mother

As you know from our news release early this morning, we arrested Nalini Tellaprolu’s son for her 2015 murder.

I want to thank Chief Godwin and his team along with District Attorney Lorrin Freeman and her group for taking the time needed and working so effectively together to close this chapter in a very sad story for our community. This is a blow to so many who knew the family, and we cannot overlook their pain in what has unfolded.

As a reminder, all requests for information moving forward after an arrest are referred to the DA to ensure that we don’t do anything that impacts the next steps in the process, so what we will be able to share with you beyond this email will be extremely limited.

Cary Hosting Annual Triangle Bike & Ped Workshop

Cary has been selected to host the seventh annual Triangle Bicycle & Pedestrian Workshop, to be held on April 7 from 8:15 am to noon, at Cary Arts Center.

At the workshop, participants will learn and discuss bicycle and pedestrian topics, including:

  • Local and Statewide Initiatives
  • NCDOT & Legislative Updates
  • RDU Forest Trail Center and Triangle Bikeway
  • Developing the BWI Airport Bicycle Trail and much more!

Optional lunch (on your own) and walking tour of downtown Cary will follow the workshop. We will share more details as the event gets closer!

Additional Information on Stormwater Measures

The Town has taken considerable measures to protect water quality and provide relief for flooding. These measures include innovative ordinances to protect storm buffers and control runoff by development. They include policies to evaluate citizen requests to reduce flooding and improve drainage. The Town has completed numerous projects to manage stormwater more effectively and improve streams. The Town completed a Stormwater Master Plan in 2013 and a Town Center Area Floodplain Study in 2006. The Town’s stormwater program operates under an NPDES Stormwater permit issued by the state of North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality.

We have created an index of information that describes these initiatives and actions in more detail to provide a more complete picture of Cary’s approach.

Additionally, you can watch the stormwater primer delivered by Steve Brown at the Council meeting on March 9.

Cary Community Plan Overview

Staff from the Planning Department hosted an overview session in Council Chambers for all employees to learn more about the Cary Community Plan. The overview walked through each of the 10 chapters and the policy themes that are interwoven throughout the Plan. The Cary Community Plan is our guiding document and will play an integral role for everyone as we work to keep Cary great.

Cary Lends Fire Assistance to City of Raleigh

As you may have seen on the news, a large apartment complex under construction in downtown Raleigh caught fire Thursday evening. Cary Fire was able to lend a hand for several hours by sending Cary three engines, one ladder truck, and one Battalion Chief.

The construction fire also damaged surrounding properties, including the NC League of Municipalities. Lana has been in touch with Paul Meyer, Executive Director, and offered Cary’s assistance in any way.

CAMPO Executive Meeting Action Summary

On Wednesday, the Executive Board approved the Harnett County Comprehensive Transportation Plan Amendments including updates to highway, transit, bicycle and pedestrian recommendations and approved the contract for the Triangle Strategic Tolling Study that will create a comprehensive regional tolling strategy. The Executive Board also received information on the FY 2018 Wake Transit Work Plan that authorizes and institutionalizes Wake County Transit Plan Implementation Investment Decisions. Finally, the Board received information regarding the call for projects as part of the Mobility of Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities Program, which supports the provision of transportation services to meet the specific needs of elderly persons and persons with disabilities. The next Executive Board meeting is Wednesday, April 19 at 4 p.m. at CAMPO’s new location, One City Plaza, 421 Fayetteville Street, Suite 203, Raleigh.

Student Tour of Cary Parks

On Tuesday, seven 6th grade students from Rochester, NY toured Marla Dorrel Park, Hemlock Bluffs, and Jack Smith Park as part of their unit study on ‘play.’ They selected Cary as one of four sites around the country as a place to learn about best practices in park development.

Still Aboard the Spirit of Singapore

The Jordan Lake Aeration System, aboard the Spirit of Singapore container ship, passed through the Panama Canal earlier this week on its way to the final destination in Charleston, which is expected on March 24. Once the ship arrives, the equipment manufacturer has paid for custom officials to inspect the cargo so when it is off-loaded it can go directly to a truck for delivery.

Recognitions

The Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department hosted their annual banquet for PRCR volunteers. This year’s banquet and silent auction was themed, “Heart of Gold,” as a nod to the Gold Medal Award the Town received earlier this year. We’d like to thank everyone who had a hand in organizing such a successful event – not to mention our awesome volunteers who help to keep Cary great!

We’d like to recognize the efforts of the crew from Engine-1 after they witnessed a sudden cardiac arrest of a resident while exercising at the Westover Hills Apartment Clubhouse. The crew from E-1 rendered immediate aid and after one defibrillation from an automated external defibrillator successfully revived the resident. The patient was transported to an area hospital and is reported to be in good condition.

And lastly, congratulations to Captain Daniel Lee, who was recognized as the 2017 American Legion Post 67 Firefighter of the Year during their recent annual Public Safety Awards Banquet. Captain Lee is a 23-year veteran of the Fire Department and works as a supervisor at Fire Station 9. Captain Lee has been instrumental in coaching and monitoring firefighter fitness levels for more than 15 years.

 

Emails from citizens this week included:

  • A complaint about an upcoming rezoning at White Oak (council has not seen a report)
  • A request for more signage about USA Baseball.
  • Comments about the town’s new towing ordinance.
  • A complaint that the town is causing light pollution with LED street lights.
  • A complaint about mobile alerts.
  • A complaint about Cary Parkway from Kildaire to US1.
  • Multiple requests to attend events (tis the season)

Next week the council will be on an inter-city visit to Arizona. Other than that there are no other activities planned.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, March 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, March 12th, 2017

This was a busy week for me.

Monday started with calls to council members to hear of any concerns or questions about Thursday’s regularly scheduled council meeting. Since the agenda was short and non-controversial there were not any questions.

My first meeting on Monday was with several dozen town employees interested in working together on the opioid addiction problem that is rapidly growing in this region. I kicked off the meeting with a few remarks on how people in my life with addictions have impacted me. The point was that you don’t have to be an addict to be impacted by addiction. The group will meet again in the near future and begin their work to focus their efforts.

Afterwards I met with staff and went over the agenda for Thursday’s meeting. Since the agenda was short the meeting was brief.

My next meeting was to sign Cary’s municipal bonds. I was joined by the town manager, town clerk, town attorney, finance director, and an attorney representing the bank. I signed about 20 actual bonds and several legal documents. All documents had several signatures, were notarized and witnessed. The session lasted about 20 minutes.

After signing bonds I met with the town manager and the Mayor Pro-Tem to discuss an upcoming proposal by Columbia development. They are the ones currently contracting with the state on the property across from the mall. Their primary interest is a Wegmans which will be integrated with a horizontally and vertically mixed use. They should be coming to council soon with their proposal.

Monday night I was the moderator at a town hall by Congressman David Price. Before we took the stage we had a few moments to talk about several things. I love talking with him because of all his experience and knowledge he has about what is going on in Washington. And then add on top of that, he is a really good guy. Once we took the stage I gave a few welcoming remarks and then introduced Congressman Price who answered questions for close to two and a half hours. Most of the people vented for several minutes before asking their questions. The audience was almost all left of center on political policies with the majority of the questions focusing on health care and budget cuts. Congressman Price has been in Congress for almost three decades and has represented Cary very well. I am proud to have him as one of our representatives.

Tuesday started with an unplanned meeting with Columbia development representatives. These are the developers that are planning to present a proposal across from the mall that will include a Wegmans. They showed me sketches and 3-D video of what they plan to propose. If what was shown to me is proposed it will be a horizontal and vertical mix of uses which is what the Eastern Gateway calls for.

Later Tuesday I met with a local pastor. He and I have been meeting at least once a year to talk about the town and me. He and his congregation are always praying for me which I greatly appreciate. We talked about how he and his congregation can get more involved in the community.

Wednesday I joined council member Smith in a tour of Transitions LifeCare founded as the Hospice of Wake County. They are currently expanding and expect to complete the construction of the hospice facility in October. After the tour, former Raleigh mayor Smedes York along with John Thoma and Transitions LifeCare Board of Directors talked with us about a future expansion project called Transition Kids that will serve children and their families. This is much needed and is going to have a significant positive impact on the Cary Community. Transitions LifeCare has served over 6,546 families and we are blessed to have them in our region.

Thursday the council held its first regularly scheduled meeting of the month. On the agenda were five consent items, one public hearing, and three discussion items. Council approved MetLife’s Development Incentive grant. They have 1,474 new full-time employees with an average annual compensation of $104,556 which is well above what was initially proposed. They have built two office buildings with a combined square footage of 445,000 square feet and two parking decks with nearly 2,000 spaces. This incentive was to approve the town’s contractual obligation. Council also approved the repaving of Cary Parkway from Evans Road to Harrison Avenue. After the repaving has been completed NCDOT will take over maintenance of the road. It should be pointed out that NCDOT is responsible for all major roads in the town. Council approved the design and construction of a 48-inch parallel culvert across Bayoak Drive at Joel Court to address flooding of the home at 100 Joel Court. The presentation from staff on the flooding areas around town was phenomenal. We have asked that this presentation be videotaped so that the public will have access. After returning from closed session the council meeting concluded. The meeting lasted about 90 minutes.

Friday I had the pleasure of giving welcoming remarks at the silver anniversary show of VocalMotion who was raising money for the Center for Volunteer Caregiving who was also celebrating their silver anniversary.  VocalMotion is an all-volunteer, adult show choir that is sponsored by SAS. The Center for Volunteer Caregiving is a private, nonprofit, faith based organization with a mission to engage the community in providing volunteer services to improve the lives of seniors, caregivers, and adults with disabilities. I was thoroughly entertained by the talent and judging from the audience they were too. God bless both of these great organizations.

Sunday I had the joy of attending two events. My first event was the Chinese Communities Grand Gala at Prestonwood in Cary. Also joining me were Governor Cooper’s wife, Secretary of State Marshall, a few state senators, a few state representatives, Mayor Bell from Durham, and Mayor Stohlman from Morrisville. Several gave remarks about the importance of cooperation with China. My comments, and the comments of the mayors, focused on the importance of diversity.

My second event on Sunday was the Basant Bahar celebration at the Cary Arts Center. It has become a tradition for me to join my Indian American friends in celebrating their culture with music and dance. This year’s theme was Mudra from Indian mythology meaning love and life. We were all treated with great performances showcasing classic Indian dance.

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

Water Allocation Approval

On Thursday, the North Carolina Environmental Management Commission unanimously approved the Round 4 Jordan Lake Water Supply Allocation. This was a coordinated effort led by the Jordan Lake Partners, made up of water utilities surrounding the lake, including Cary/Apex, Durham, Orange Water and Sewer Authority and Pittsboro. This group has been working since 2009 to plan for our water supply to meet the needs of a growing population for at least the next 50 years. This new allocation secures sufficient Jordan Lake water supply for all of us to meet our anticipated needs until at least 2045. Future allocations of water supply from the lake will occur as needed.

Hazardous Tree Removal

Based on recommendations by an independent certified arborist, we will take time next week to remove hazardous trees on the 100 block of Walnut Street. The trees are near the future location of the new library and parking deck and are in a state of serious decline.

Improving Building Inspection Scheduling

With the help from Inspections & Permits, Technology Services and Development Services, staff implemented changes to the building inspection scheduling process which will make it easier and more efficient for citizens to schedule inspections. Effective this coming Monday, all new permits will be pre-loaded in our system with project specific, customized inspections, prior to the issuance of the permit. Citizens will no longer be required to select inspections from an extensive inspection list which is often confusing. These pre-loaded, customized inspections can easily be modified by a staff member if necessary.

Legislative Update

Lana Hygh, joined by our Assistant Police Chief Ken Quinlan and Capt. Ann Stephens of the Apex Police Department attended the NC House Committee on State and Local Government. H55 Apex/Cary/Police Assistance on School Grounds was heard and received a favorable report. It quickly progressed to the House floor, passed 118-0, and is now headed to the Senate for consideration.

Smart Communities Siting Coalition

The Town, separately and as part of the Smart Communities Siting Coalition (representing over 1800 communities in 10 states), filed comments with the Federal Communications Commission this week regarding deployment of small cell infrastructure. The Town and Smart Communities urged the FCC to avoid placing any further restrictions on local governments as they collaborate with their local wireless carriers and infrastructure providers to integrate this very new technology, and very new approach to infrastructure development, into their planning and zoning processes in a way that preserves, enhances, and protects the finite rights-of-way belonging to their residents.

Holly Springs Water Transfer Testing

We completed testing this week with the Towns of Holly Springs and Apex in advance of a planned maintenance operation by Holly Springs later this month that will require a water transfer. The transfer test ran from Tuesday through Thursday and successfully transferred approximately 4.5 million gallons from Cary to Holly Springs. This is the first sustained, multi-day water transfer conducted jointly by Cary and Holly Springs. This testing was very valuable to staff who were able to test the pump station, valve operations, and refine standard operating procedures for the water transfer operation.

Municipal Managers Meeting

On Wednesday, the Town hosted a meeting of the Wake County municipal managers facilitated by Wake County Manager Jim Hartmann. At the meeting, Ted Boyd presented information on Cary’s downtown development efforts. And update was also provided to the group on the FY 2018 draft Wake Transit Plan.

Occupancy/Food & Beverage Tax Review

The first of several stakeholder meetings related to the Wake County Occupancy and Food & Beverage Taxes was held at the Herb Young Community Center on Thursday morning. Nearly 60 people attended. Council members Jack Smith and Ken George and staff members Lana Hygh and Amina Shah and I represented Cary. Wake County and City of Raleigh presented information about the history and scope of the Occupancy and Food & Beverage Tax before turning to draft principles for the group to discuss in small groups. The purpose of the principles, when adopted, will be to provide a framework for making future funding decisions. Each group had an opportunity to suggest revisions or additions to the principles. Afterward, each individual was asked to rank all of the principles in order of importance.

The results of the meeting will be compiled in advance of the next meeting which is scheduled for 3 p.m. on March 27.  We appreciate Raleigh and Wake County including all stakeholders as this process moves forward.

Recognitions

For the 30th consecutive year, the Town received the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association for the FY 2017 adopted budget. The award is the highest form of recognition in governmental budgeting and is presented to less than two percent of state and local government units nationwide each year.

On Saturday, March 4, Sarah Justice presented at the Advocates for Health in Action “8th Annual Dig-In.” Sarah partnered with Piedmont Conservation Council (PCC) at a session on urban agriculture and used the Good Hope Farm project as an example of what can be achieved through partnerships and innovative thinking.

 

Emails from citizens this week included:

  • A suggestion on how to improve traffic in Cary.
  • A complaint that Cary is overbuilding (Cary doesn’t usually build and never builds on private property. Property owners build. We have no authority to stop development or control the rate of development).
  • A request to use the town logo in a private video of recycling.

Next week I will continue my busy schedule. Activities include private meetings, a taping of Cary Matters, a meeting of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s executive board, PRCR volunteer banquet, Cary-Apex Water Treatment advisory committee meeting, Western Wake Partners Policy Advisory committee meeting, a metro mayors meeting, an Arbor Day event, and the Tobacco Road Marathon.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, March 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.

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