• Monday, October 16th, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Michael

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See the following link

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely

Erv Portman

 

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

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

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

The town manager’s report included the following:

 

SAS Championships in Cary

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

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

Women’s Day Event

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

Cary Showcased at BoxWorks

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

Water Production Setting Record Levels

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

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

Cary Towne Center Mall Update

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

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

NC Courage to Championships

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

Carpenter Park Fun Day

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

Irish Delegation Visits Cary

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

Small Wireless Telecommunications Facilities (“Small Cells”)

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

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

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

Wake Co. Affordable Housing Plan

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

Recognitions

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

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

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

 

Emails from citizens this week included:

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

 

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

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

Category: Uncategorized  
• Sunday, October 08th, 2017

This was another busy week for me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Find next open studio date

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

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

  • Find nearby parks based on home address

  • Tell me when my Trash/Recycling day is

  • Tell me when I can water my yard

  • Let the town know if we Missed Trash/Recycling

  • Schedule a leaf, oil or cardboard collection

  • Find upcoming Events in Cary

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

  • Get the town hall hours.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[I inserted a personal story here]

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

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

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

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

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

A Ride For Lori

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

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

Solid Waste Rebalancing

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

Cary Showcased at Smart Cities Week

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

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

Plumtree Elevated Water Tank Repainting Project Schedule

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

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

Research Network for Water Management Infrastructure

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

PD Assists with International Walk to School Day

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

October is Cyber Security Awareness Month

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

Online Safety Training

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

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

Emails from citizens this week included:

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

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

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

Category: Uncategorized  
• Sunday, October 01st, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The town manager’s report for this week included:

 

Cary Joins What Works Cities

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

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

Cary Hosts Area Realtors for Tour

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

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

Successful Bond Sales

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

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

Cary Showcased at TJCOG Regional Summit

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

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

Utilities Monthly Report

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

FBI Crime Statistics Released

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

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

Upcoming Water Transfers

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

Cary Ranks #2 Most Livable Mid-Sized Cities

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

Early Voting at Herb Young Begins Wednesday

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

Recognitions

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

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

 

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

Emails from citizens this week include:

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

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

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

Category: Uncategorized  
• Sunday, September 24th, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The town manager’s report for this week included:

 

Crossroads Ground Storage Tank Neighborhood Meeting

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

GoTriangle Electric Bus Grant Unsuccessful

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

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

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

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

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

Good Hope Farm Celebration

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

Fire Station 9 Community Meeting

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

CAMPO Executive Meeting

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

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

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

The next Executive Board meeting was rescheduled to October 25.

Recognitions

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

 

Emails this week included:

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

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

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

Category: Uncategorized  
• Sunday, September 17th, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The town manager’s report included:

Cary Continues to Combat the Opioid Epidemic on Many Fronts

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

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

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

AAA Bond Ratings Confirmed

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

Pop-Up in the Park

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

Try Transit Month

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

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

Veteran’s Benefit Action Center

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

Recognitions

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

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

 

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

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

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

Emails from citizens this week included:

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

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

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

Category: Uncategorized  
• Monday, September 11th, 2017

This week was a holiday week including a trip to our sister city Markham, Canada.

Monday I enjoyed Labor Day like many Americans by laboring at my house doing yard work. I did take some time out to enjoy the day and rest.

Tuesday I interviewed with a recruiter who is looking for fill the director position for Life Experiences.  Life Experiences is a nonprofit organization that blends education and training into a business it operates for adults with developmental disabilities, allowing them to function as independent, productive citizens. We are blessed to have such a great organization in our community. In my conversation with the recruiter I expressed a desire to get this organization more involved in the business community. The interview lasted about half an hour.

Wednesday I met with Cary’s Economic Development Committee. Joining me from council were Jack Smith and Jennifer Robinson. Also attending were the town manager, public information officer, citizen representatives, the Chamber president, and the Vice President of Economic Development. First we talked about the town’s branding initiative which is needed as we continue to recruit companies worldwide. From our Request for Qualifications we had 18 submissions. That will be narrowed down to hopefully 4 to 6 which the committee will review at our next meeting. Eventually we will make a recommendation to council who will choose the branding firm. The committee also went over the quarterly report. Here are some of the items in that report:

  • Hogana Environment Solutions is now headquartered in Cary. They are a Swedish company with 1,800 employees worldwide.
  • Highwoods Properties has opened a new building at CentreGreen with 250,000 office space in Weston.
  • The MidTown Square building next to Bond Brothers Brewery is now fully leased.
  • SAS has been in meetings to discuss possible ways we could partner with them and utilize their software to aid in economic development.
  • The town’s tech services has been working to make the Town Hall Campus a “Smart Campus”.
  • Awards in the last 3 months include: #8 easiest place to sell a home in North Carolina, #10 safest city to raise a child, #5 state for business, and #4 best city for first time buyers.
  • We are currently working on 10 active projects with the potential for 5,200 jobs and over $278 million in new investment.
  • Class A office vacancy has now dropped to 6.24% which is considered low.
  • The unemployment rate in Cary is 3.33% compared to Wake County at 3.6%, North Carolina at 4.5%, and the nation at 4.6%.

Our meeting concluded after about an hour.

Thursday I was joined by the Mayor Pro-Tem, three council members, three staff members, and two members of the sister cities commission in a visit to our sister city Markham, Canada. The purpose of this trip was to observe their three day 150 year celebration and to visit and talk with several international businesses in the interest of economic development. Our Cary delegation was joined by a delegation from Nordlingen, Germany which is also a sister city of Markham. They were there to help celebrate Markham’s 150.

Friday started with a visit to Markham Convergence Center. This is an innovation center similar to ones we were familiar with except that it was sponsored and housed by IBM. According to the spokesperson IBM he believes that helping startups with providing space and software will result in positive returns in the future if these businesses are successful. That is, these new businesses are likely to use their software and be loyal to the IBM brand. That is an interesting concept that could be tried by companies like SAS.

Next we visited Huawei of Markham pronounced Wa Way. Huawei is a Chinese IT company which is one of the largest mobile providers in the world including software and hardware. There was a presentation made and then several demonstrations of how they will use their software and equipment in the 5G networks which is in the near future. It is my understanding that the information from their products is stored in their cloud. This means they have access to all the information from all their customers. This is a privacy concern in the United States and is the primary reason they have little presence in the United States. They have a huge presence in Europe in areas like Germany and of course in China.

For lunch we visited an historic area of Markham called Unionville. A large number of the buildings in this area were around 100 years old or older. We actually ate lunch in a repurposed building that was at one time a funeral home. Most of the businesses on the main street of Unionville were restaurants and bars. The reason given for that was that it was too difficult to keep retail viable in the area with such small buildings.

Later in the day we went to the new downtown center of Markham. This area was a mixed use made up of several high rises. The demand to live in this area created extremely high housing prices with condos going for over a million dollars. As Cary develops areas like the Eastern Gateway we must be careful not to create an environment that is unaffordable for most people.

In the evening the group joined the Mayor of Markham for dinner. The Mayor from Markham, Nordlingen, and I all gave remarks. After the dinner the group revisited Unionville to a celebration in an outdoor theater. This was part of their three days of celebration.

Saturday began with a visit to Heritage Village of Markham. Markham puts a lot of value is their historic properties. So they decided to create a neighborhood made up of these properties. Structures of all ages and architectural styles were moved to this area, restored, and occupied. Signage was provided in little pocket parks for each street to give the history of each home. I thought this was an excellent idea that we should consider for Cary.

Later Saturday morning we visited Nordlingen Park named for the sister city from Germany with close ties. We posed for a picture with a plaque recognizing Cary and Nordlingen. I should note that Nordlingen and Markham have several citizens that have lived in both municipalities and have contributed to relationship. A tree was dedicated to commemorate the visit from the Nordlingen delegation.

For lunch the group visited a women’s golf club. It is believed to be the only women’s golf club in North America. Afterwards the group visited the Berczy Park for a dedication of a statue in honor of Berczy who is the founder of Markham.

Later the group attended a dinner at the hotel where we were staying. At this dinner all three mayors gave remarks and we exchanged gifts. Cary gave a painting of the Page Walker to Mayor Scarpitti of Markham, a glass bowl with the town seal to Mayor Faul of Nordlingen, and a print of Cary historic sites to our Town Crier Webster of Markham who is also the Cary town crier.

After dinner all delegations were invited to a concert at the civic center across the street. This was the second day of their celebrations.

Sunday started with a visit to the Markham museum. The first floor of this museum was mostly dedicated to interactive exhibits. Next the group visited the classic car show in the Markham village. This is the part of Markham that was the original downtown of Markham and is filled with many historic structures.

The group then headed back to the area of the civic center to participate in their parade. I rode in a car while council members and staff carried an identification banner, a flag of Cary, and the United States flag. The parade ended at the civic center where I joined several other dignitaries from their Parliament as well as from their council. We then were led in a procession to the stage where several of the dignitaries gave speeches. After the speeches I excused myself and the Cary delegation left for the airport to catch our flight home.

This was a very informative trip for me with several thought provoking issues. For example, they had significant new development in two areas with mid-century homes in between. As these areas developed the mid-century homes couldn’t afford to move. Once developed the demand became so great to live in the area that the mid-century homes values skyrocketed. I can see this potentially happening between downtown Cary and the Eastern Gateway.

Markham is twice the size of Cary. They have experienced and are experiencing issues related to development and growth that Cary could face as we grow in population. Like Cary they are focused on economic development, value their historic structures, and embrace their diversity. Their diversity is more profound than Cary’s with most of their residents born in other parts of the world. With the values we both share Cary and Markham can learn from each other’s experiences. We created strong relationships during this visit to Markham which could pay dividends in many ways especially in economic development. In addition, we were also able to create a good relationship with the Nordlingen delegation which I hope to explore further.

The town manager’s report this week included:

 

Hurricane Irma Preparations

Staff met Thursday and Friday to review the ever-changing Irma forecast and make preparations as necessary. By end of business today, we’ll have finished checking and clearing large culverts and areas prone to flooding. We’ve also checked and cleared blockages from greenway bridges, and Town utility plants are ready to implement High Flow Management plans if needed. While the track seems to continue westward, we’re following our inclement weather directives. We’ll keep an eye on the forecast this weekend and scale our efforts as appropriate come Monday. At this time, programs and facilities are operating as regularly scheduled.

The forecast is clear this weekend; as we’ve prepared our Town facilities, I encourage you and yours to prepare your home and family as you see fit should heavy rain or high winds arrive early next week.

Branding Project Update

Following the August 31 deadline for submissions, we have received an amazing 18 responses to the Community Branding RFQ from seven states. This is an incredible response, much more than I expected. We are evaluating each based on the RFQ’s technical requirements to determine whether any is non-responsive. Once the qualified pool is established, I will refer the top four to six firms to the Economic Development Committee for their evaluation and recommendation. As we did with the downtown park finalists, we will bring in the branding finalists to get to know Cary and meet the Town Council. This should occur after the first of the year.

Economic Development Committee Update

On Wednesday, the Committee received a development update from Kyle Greer at the Chamber. Some highlights to note include:

  • Since the beginning of 2017, nine projects have been won with a 1,600 new jobs and $176 million in new investment. The jobs and investment are divided relatively equally between new and existing companies.
  • Cary ED is currently working on ten active projects that account for over 52,00 new jobs and over $278 million in new investment
  • Class A vacancy rate in Cary is down to 6.24%
  • Cary’s unemployment rate of 3.3% is lower than the national, state and county averages (4.6%, 4.5% and 3.6% respectively)

Trilliant Ribbon Cutting

On Thursday, Council Members Robinson and Bush were joined by Town staff at Trilliant’s ribbon cutting ceremony with Governor Cooper at their headquarters in Cary. As part of the ceremony, Trilliant showcased Cary’s Simulated Smart City Lighting Pilot.

The Smart Citing Lighting Pilot will include replacing seven light fixtures on the utility poles in the courtyard area of Town Hall Campus. The light fixtures will be provided by Atlas lighting products and Trilliant will provide the Internet of Things (IoT) Sensors, base radio collector, network to cloud application, dashboard and installation/configuration of all components. This will allow us to test remote light control capabilities and use the data to balance sustainability efforts and public safety.

Recognitions

Recognition goes to our newest STAR Spot recipient, Katie Drye! Katie has consistently demonstrated technical expertise, persistence and adaptability in her work facilitating the rezoning process for our citizens.

 

Emails from citizens this week included:

  • Concerns about stormwater issues in Williamsburg Commons
  • Several requests to pursue Amazon’s second headquarters (we are already doing this)
  • A question about the use of drones in Cary
  • A request for information about Cary’s hurricane shelter (we did not believe there was a need in Cary)
  • Several requests to attend events

 

Next week’s activities will include The Cary Tennis Championships, a regularly scheduled council meeting, a ribbon cutting, remarks at a workshop, an opioid event, the Cary Chamber’s banquet, Bond Brother’s 5K fundraiser, and a Good Hope Farm event.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, September 17th.  Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communications with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org and email personal comments to augustanat@mindspring.com.

Category: Uncategorized  
• Sunday, September 03rd, 2017

This week was a slower week than normal and will be the last slow week for a while.

Monday I joined several key staff members as we met with a representative from NCDEQ (North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality). The representative was visiting municipalities across the state to hear of what each municipality is doing related to the environment and issues they may be having in achieving their environmental goals. In our conversation we talked about water, wastewater, transportation, buffers, and specific environmental initiatives we have implemented over the years. She was very impressed and asked how they could help. We noted that our biggest concern is legislative actions that attempt to remove our authority to govern. For example, one of the latest harmful legislative proposals would reduce our buffers from 100 feet to 50 feet. Experts will tell you that the first 50 feet of that buffer is where the nutrients are removed so it is very important. She vowed to work with us on issues.

Later Monday I met with the town manager for my weekly one-on-one. We talked about several items including quasi-judicial hearings, a downtown business, a meeting with Jim Goodman, the mall redevelopment, the Silverton proposal at Evans and Cary Parkway, a potential Eastern Gateway consultant, and the annual council retreat date and location.

Tuesday I had an interview with a reporter from the Triangle Business Journal on IKEA and the Eastern Gateway. I spoke about my vision of how I thought the Eastern Gateway would develop and how it would eventually one day merge with the downtown redevelopment. Our interview lasted about 15 to 20 minutes.

Tuesday night I had the honor and privilege to introduce Mayor Pro-Tem Yerha and his campaign kickoff event. It was attended by well over 100 people and was a who’s who of people engaged and involved in the town. It should be noted that town staff are not allowed to attend any campaign events.

Thursday I joined the Deputy Town Manager in a meeting with a representative from Columbia development. The purpose of the meeting was a follow-up of our visit to Alpharetta, a review of rezoning and site submissions to the town, and to answer any questions I may have. With the zoning proposal were dozens and dozens of conditions to help assure the town of all the things we have seen and been presented. The rezoning will probably come to council in January for a decision. The project is so massive that I believe council may need a work session before the January meeting so that we can dive deep into the details of the conditions. Our meeting ended after an hour.

Later Thursday I joined council member George in an episode of Cary Matters. I wrote this episode to focus on volunteering since I frequently get requests from organizations and citizens of ways they can volunteer. If you would like to volunteer in some way to help Cary become greater than it is today please contact us.

The town manager’s report for this week included

 

Preparing for Potential Severe Weather

Staff is actively preparing for severe weather forecasted for our area later today. In addition to continuing to monitor conditions, we are implementing the following precautions:

  • The Fire Department is adding one ladder-company and one shift supervisor to augment the emergency response capability. We are also prepared to implement inclement weather dispatching protocols if necessary.
  • Public Works will have customer service staff for citizens to call x4090. The facilities and maintenance group and operations staff will be extending work hours.
  • Utilities staff is ready to implement its High-flow Management Plan.
  • Police will have the Watch Commander available to coordinate any special requests.
  • We have contacted tree removal contractors in the event their services are necessary.

Bloomberg Mayors Challenge

Fifteen cross-organizational staff members and Councilwoman Bush participated in Bloomberg’s Mayors Challenge Idea Accelerator Workshop on Wednesday in preparation for submitting for the Challenge. Cary is one of 300 cities participating in the workshop, which is designed to help develop ideas that solve the most urgent problems facing cities today. Our focus is the opioid epidemic. The grand prize winner receives $5 million to implement their idea.

It was a fantastic day full of great ideas and amazing collaboration. We are all excited and energized to keep the momentum going. We truly believe that Cary will play a leading role not only in our community and state but the world by developing a tool kit where municipalities can understand the health of their community through actionable data.

Harrison Bridge Project Update

As an update to previous conversations, staff recently met with the NCDOT Rail Division to discuss the Harrison Bridge project. The tunneling option was eliminated; the three remaining options (all bridging over tracks) continue to be studied. The discussion also included kick-off of the Maynard project, where both options (under the tracks and over the tracks) will be re-evaluated. On the Maynard project, detouring during construction will be a concern that staff will monitor closely. Additionally, this week staff met with the consultant and NCDOT regarding the US-64 project to evaluate options and discuss access, design and public involvement.

Water Transfer to Durham

Cary provided approximately 4 million gallons of water to the City of Durham in two water transfers via the Highway 55 Interconnect Pump Station. The first transfer, on Tuesday, was in support of a scheduled shut down for construction work at one of Durham’s water treatment facilities. The second transfer, which ran Wednesday through Thursday, was made on an emergency basis after an electrical problem at a Durham water treatment facility.

Cary: 4th Best Real-Estate Market in 2017

Cary was named 2017’s 4th Best Real-Estate Market in a recent study from the leading personal finance outlet WalletHub.com. You can find the full study here. To determine the most attractive real-estate markets in the U.S., WalletHub’s analysts compared 300 cities across 21 key metrics. The data set ranges from median home-price appreciation to home sales turnover rate to job growth. Cary ranks 4th overall and 2nd among midsize cities.

Hurricane Harvey/Fuel Impacts

We have been monitoring the fuel situation coming out of Texas and the situation with Colonial Pipeline to understand how it could impact Town operations.  According to the Colonial Pipeline: “Multiple refineries along the Gulf Coast are closed as a precaution against high water. This has caused a cessation of product injection to the Colonial Pipeline. At this moment, diesel seems to be in shorter supply than gasoline. Unbranded prices are rising as a result of this short supply. Carriers report that lines at terminals are lengthening and delivery times are being pushed out to 48 hours or more.”

With this information in mind, we are encouraging staff with Town vehicles to take precautionary methods to conserve fuel. At this time we are maintaining normal operations and our tanks at the Operations Center are topped off; however, we ask that staff with Town vehicles continue fueling your vehicles off site and often. We are keeping a very close eye on this and will certainly communicate any changes in our fueling operations.

GoCary Visits Glenaire

GoCary staff was invited by the senior advisory members at Glenaire Retirement Community to learn about transit service options for their residents. It was a wonderful opportunity to provide valuable transportation resources, particularly information about our Door-to-Door service. This program allows Cary residents age 60 and older, to travel within the Town limits for any trip purpose. For medical trips, however, the service area can be extended to Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Apex, and Morrisville. Throughout the course of the presentation, we covered a number of topics including registration process, service areas, fares, hours of service, and related policies. They invited us back in November to hold another presentation, for all residents, and GoCary staff will be joined by staff at the Cary Senior Center. They expressed gratitude for everything the Town of Cary provides for the elderly population.

Cary Selected for TJCOG’s Local Government Showcase

The Town of Cary has been selected to participate in the Local Government Showcase on September 28 at TJCOG’s Regional Summit taking place this year in Clayton. Each presenter will have 5-7 minutes in a Ted Talk fashion to present the program/project and discuss its unique value to the community. Cary’s submission highlighted the urban/rural connection by using a recent example of when Cary helped the town of Autryville purchase a surplus fire truck following an EF1 tornado that completely destroyed its fire station and three trucks.

Recognitions

Thanks to CIO Nicole Raimundo for participating and representing Cary in an hour-long panel yesterday during the North Carolina Digital Government Summit. Nicole joined colleagues from local governments to discuss the issues of working with vendors, defining “smart” in the digital age and accurately measuring success.

And last but not least, huge thanks and appreciation go out to numerous staff, across every department, whose efforts contributed to the success of the 41st Lazy Daze event last weekend!

 

Emails from citizens this week included:

  • Compliments for Lazy Daze
  • A complaint about a restaurant that didn’t know about the brunch bill
  • A proposal to create a Transportation Advisory Board (we need a goal and mission before creating any more boards)
  • A complaint about downtown redevelopment is wrong and how we wasted money on the “dog bowl fountain”
  • A complaint about a purchase at Lazy Daze
  • A request not to allow the relocation of the Ivey-Ellington House
  • A complaint about the traffic signal placement on Evans Road and Maynard Road
  • A complaint about one hour parking in downtown
  • A complaint about rail crossing surfaces (NCDOT issue)
  • A complaint about potholes on Maynard
  • A complaint about grass clippings in the street
  • A complaint about town vehicles and how we should use 3rd parties for town maintenance (IMHO inefficient and more costly)

Next week will be busy for me and include an Economic Development meeting, several small meetings, and a trip to Markham, Canada (our sister city).

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, September 10th.  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, August 27th, 2017

This week was busy which is typical for the last full week of the month.

I started Monday by attempting to contact council members about their questions or concerns of Thursday’s agenda for the regularly scheduled meeting. I was able to contact all but George and Robinson. There were no major concerns or questions from council members. Later in the day I met with staff to go over the agenda items. Most of our conversation was about how to present financial items in simpler terms for all to understand.

Later Monday I met with the Town Clerk and Assistant Town Manager for a logistics debriefing of our Atlanta trip. In general I thought the trip and its format was a success.

Monday night I met with the Wake County Mayors Association. As usual, we went around the table and talked about various items. This meeting included conversations about Quasi-Judicial meetings, growth and development issues, and a new North Carolina Mayors association which could potentially have over 500 North Carolina mayors participating.

Tuesday I joined Mayor Pro-Tem Yerha and council members Bush, Robinson, and George for a Raksha Bandhan ceremony. Raksha Bandhan, or Rakhi, is an annual rite of people of South Asian origin, centered around the tying of a thread, talisman, or amulet on the wrist as a form of ritual protection. The protection is offered principally by sisters to brothers, but also by priests to patrons, and sometimes by individuals to real or potential benefactors. So we were honored to receive this “protection” from some of our citizens as they tied Rakhis on our wrists. It is a great gesture and a blending of cultures with a showing of love. Something our country and world need more of.

Tuesday evening the council held a work session on three topics: a debriefing of the Avalon development in Alpharetta trip, a potentially new transportation strategy, a definition of “the Cary way”, and the board and commission appointments.

In the debriefing of the Avalon visit council members all made positive comments. Most of the comments were related to the development team which is virtually the same team that created Avalon. For me seeing proof of what this team can build and hearing their ideas for Cary was the most important. To see some of the information presented in Alpharetta go to https://townofcary.box.com/s/fo1dwuablas4fflrdkxi8juvs72mlp8s.

The second topic at the work session was a transportation strategy that involved drones. Some the ways the drones could be used include:

  • Tower inspections which now cost over $1000 per inspection
  • Law enforcement to video accident scenes to help get roads open quicker
  • Law enforcement to help capture suspects trying to avoid police in wooded areas by using heat sensors
  • Emergency response to help with search and rescue
  • Firefighters to help with thermal imaging from above
  • Firefighters to help with air quality testing in accident areas to determine safety for responders
  • Firefighters to help with a 360 degree assessment of an ongoing fire or fire that may or may not be extinguished
  • Surveying and mapping
  • 3D modeling and virtual reality
  • Construction inspection
  • Video marketing of the town

In addition to the equipment the town would have to have licensed drone operators (pilots). The program would require sensors and software depending on the needs. Data management and storage will need to be obtained. And there must be ongoing training for staff. When asked about cost and return on investment staff believed it would be very quick. Council will likely see this proposal at a future date.

Our next work session topic was the meaning of “the Cary way”. Over 500 people gave opinions on what this meant. Those opinions were then categorized and summarized to produce the following definition of the Cary way: “Working together to change lives through exceptional service.”

Our last work session topic was the appointment of the board and commission members. The process started in July after the application period closed. Council members then individually reviewed the applicants and submitted their recommendations to the town clerk. The town clerk then tallied the recommendations and presented that information to council. The council liaison of each board then interviewed the top vote getters. FYI, the mayor is not a liaison to any board. At this meeting the liaison made their recommendations for appointments. All recommendations were approved without questions. Council will ratify these appointments at the first meeting in September and the board members will begin the first of October.

The work session concluded after a little over two hours.

Wednesday I had two meetings with religious representatives that wanted information about how to volunteer in their community. How great is that! Cary has many service opportunities. There are town opportunities like SPRUCE (litter reduction program), CAP (Citizens Assisting Police), CERT (Community Emergency Response Team), and all our boards and commissions. There are also non-profits we fund three ways. We set aside 1 percent of our budget, we provide CDBG (Community Development Block Grants) funds, and we donate proceeds from Lazy Daze. Some of the non-profits that have received funding include Dorcas Ministries, The Carying Place, Interact, Habitat, and dozens more. To find out more about these go to https://townofcary.app.box.com/s/01gvodsh089a7v427qlcnnncp3gwhc0r. If you are thinking about volunteering to help make your community a better place, please do!

Thursday I joined council members at a reception to welcome our guests from one of our sister cities Markham, Canada. John Webster is the official town crier for Cary and Markham. He and his wife Mary have traveled to Cary for Lazy Daze many years. The sister cities and town presented him with a framed poster of this year’s Lazy Daze and a humorous survival kit. Before adjourning to the council chambers for our last regularly scheduled meeting of the month, Mrs. Bush and I had our picture made with John and Mary Webster.

On the agenda were twelve consent items, two public hearings, and one discussion item. Most of the people in attendance wanted to speak of the proposed rezoning at the Cary Town Mall site where IKEA had announced they were planning to build. While everyone seemed to want the IKEA a few expressed concerns over potential traffic, noise, and lighting. The proposal will go to the planning and zoning board for their recommendation and will return to the council for a vote in two to three months.

Our only discussion item was a resolution to issue General Obligation Bonds. These bonds were to fulfill the Town’s commitments to implement transportation, parks and fire projects authorized by the voters in November 2012.  Council action was required to approve three resolutions and a bond order to facilitate the bond sale for the community investment bond projects and to authorize refinancing a portion of the Town’s existing bonded debt. The good news was this action saved the town over a million dollars. Needless to say, it was unanimously approved by council. Our meeting concluded after about two hours.

Saturday I had the honor of reading a proclamation and officially opening Lazy Daze. The ceremony began with John Webster’s cry of an “announcement of great importance”. This was followed by introductions of the Lazy Daze committee, key staff members, Jerry Miller who founded Lazy Daze, and former Mayor Koka Booth. Then I introduced all council members except Bush who was out of town. Finally I read a proclamation and introduced the Cary High and Green Hope High bands who played the national anthem. What a fun ceremony. The weather was unusually nice with partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the low to mid 80s. There were over 300 vendors from 16 states at this Lazy Daze. We even had a vendor from California. The proceeds from Lazy Daze will be distributed among cultural non-profits later in the year.

The town manager’s report for this week included:

The Cary Way – Defined

The Cary Way definition, a culmination of a months-long, comprehensive and inclusive process involving all employees, was presented to council at Tuesday’s work session:

Working together to change lives through exceptional service

Working together includes words and concepts such as teamwork, collaboration, family-feel, interdepartmental, creative, inclusive, camaraderie. It also includes the concept of working with citizens to accomplish our goals.

Exceptional service is meant to convey the ideas of service, excellence in all we do, community, citizens, polite and friendly, doing whatever it takes, and going above and beyond. We look for opportunities to provide special moments of “wow,” while continuously providing the highest levels of service to our citizens and to each other.

To change lives captures the idea that we are making a real difference, that the lives of our citizens and colleagues are better because of what we do every day.

You can watch Lana Hygh explain this process and how we came to our common definition in this video.

For many years, we have used “the Cary Way,” and while we didn’t have a common definition, individually, we felt like we knew what it meant. The point of the exercise was to develop this definition so it could be articulated and we could ensure we were talking about the same thing. Ultimately, the definition feels authentic – as if it was discovered more than it was developed or created.

We look forward to now using these words intentionally.

GRCVB – Destination Strategic Plan

On Monday, representatives from GRCVB working on the Destination Strategic Plan came to Town Hall and met with an interdepartmental group to review the objectives of the Strategic Plan as well as better understand Cary’s local assets, opportunities and perspective.

And on Thursday, Council member Ken George and staff members from the manager’s office and PRCR attended the GRCVB Annual Meeting. The meeting reiterated the goals of working together to identify destination strengths of the region as well as gaps that could be filled. The overall goal is to increase the number and length of overnight stays in the county.

In a pre-conference session, Denise Foreman, Assistant to the Manager for Wake County, presented information on the Occupancy/F&B tax. The next large stakeholder meeting will be held after the Destination Strategic Plan and the Cary Sport Venue Assessment are complete.

GoTriangle/GoCary Electric Buses

A joint effort by GoCary, GoTriangle, GoRaleigh, and Chapel Hill Transit to secure a federal grant to help buy seven electric buses has received the support of North Carolina’s Senators Thom Tillis and Richard Burr. The Federal Transit Administration is expected to announce the grant winners in early September.

Annual Wastewater Report

Each year the Town provides citizens and customers an update on the activities and compliance of our water reclamation facilities and wastewater collection system.  The annual report is a regulatory requirement of the Town’s wastewater collection system permit and water reclamation facilities wastewater discharge permits. On August 29th a news release will be issued and the FY 2017 Annual Wastewater Report will be available online.  Printed copies of the report will also be located at the Town Community Centers and the public libraries in Cary and Morrisville.  We are happy to report that the water reclamation facilities performed exceptionally well at consistently treating wastewater to high standards of water quality and there were no regulatory compliance violations during the reporting period.

Hackathon Build Day

The second part of the Hackathon, known as Build Day, occurred on Wednesday. The half day event brought together 10 teams that pitched at the Hackathon to work together in a collaborative manner to construct a scaled down version of the product/solution. The goal was to share and test these prototypes within the teams, in other departments, or on a small group of people outside the team. Next steps will be to share these prototypes with a larger audience and continue working on bringing the ideas to fruition.

2nd Quarter Report to Council

The 2nd Quarter Report, covering Town operations between April-June 2017, has been posted to our website. While the content should be familiar to you, this is the first quarter that we have organized the information based on the chapters in our Imagine Cary Community Plan. This is another example of how we are continuing to think about our work within the context of Council’s visioning document.

Google Pilots Microtrenching

Town staff has been working with Google Fiber to pilot Google’s new microtrenching fiber installation technique. This week Google began piloting this installation technique on Stamford Dr subdivision. This technique has benefits for citizens, Google, and the Town. Microtrenching allows Google Fiber to be installed without disturbing citizens’ lawns by cutting three-quarter inch wide trench in the street where the asphalt meets the curb. The fiber line is installed; backer-rods are installed on top of the fiber for protection, then a sealant on top.

This technique also allows fiber to be installed approximately three times faster than traditional boring; this benefits Google’s construction operation while significantly reducing the impact citizens see on their lawns and neighborhood streets. Additionally, microtrenching does not threaten the Town’s utility system. Microtrenching eliminates utility strikes and the subsequent outages and repairs that have been seen with the traditional boring installation. And since there is no threat to the Town’s utility system, utility locators are able to allocate time to other locate operations.

Recognitions

Hats off to Carrie Roman and Stephen McNulty for providing neighborly assistance to Durham County’s Sheriff’s Office last week during their time of need. As events unfolded, Cary’s PIO stepped in to help with social media communications to the public, which helped free up resources within Durham to better deal with the task at hand. This effort clearly demonstrated The Cary Way!

 

Reports from staff this week included the 2017 2nd quarter report. Here are some interesting points from that report:

  • Population as of July 1st was 160,390
  • MetLife will build a third tower
  • White Oak Greenway between Green Level and the American Tobacco Trail is under bid
  • USA Baseball clubhouse is in design
  • MacDonald Woods restroom replacement is almost ready for bid
  • Mills Park phase two is almost ready for bid
  • Cary Tennis Park expansion is almost complete
  • Black Creek Greenway renovation is almost ready for bid
  • Fire Station 9 is in design
  • Average single family dwelling was 3773 square feet in this quarter compared to 3797 square feet in 2013
  • Cary had just over 13% of Wake County single family permits. Raleigh and Apex had more
  • Morrisville Parkway extension is under design
  • Cary Parkway at High House is under bid
  • Carpenter Fire Station Road is almost ready for bid
  • Green Level West Road widening has begun construction
  • Over the past 10 years there has been a 27% customer growth for water/sewer but a 16% decrease in average customer use.

To look at the entire 2nd quarter report go to http://townofcary.uberflip.com/i/865956-2017q2report.

Emails from citizens this week included:

  • Complaints about a CUBE SMART project on Highway 55 (it is in the county’s jurisdiction and not Cary)
  • A question about the candidates debates
  • A request to regularly power wash the sidewalks in downtown
  • A “demand” to remove confederate monuments in Cary (we have none)
  • Support for IKEA going to the mall site
  • A request to deny the White Oak rezoning proposal

 

Next week will be a light week. It includes a meeting NCDENR, a campaign event for Mayor Pro-Tem Yerha, a meeting with a Columbia Development representative, and a Cary Matters taping.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, September 3rd.  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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• Sunday, August 20th, 2017

This was a busy week with a trip to Atlanta being the highlight.

Monday I met with the town manager for our one-on-one meeting to go over current issues. One topic we talked about at length was the violence going on in Charlottesville, Virginia. While I know bigotry, hatred, and ugliness exists everywhere I pray that it doesn’t raise its ugly head here. Nevertheless, we continue to prepare in case it does.

Later Monday I joined staff members and some council members to meet the third of four consultant groups interested in designing the final phase of the downtown park. This group, like the others, had ties to North Carolina. They mostly asked questions and listened. The other consultants engaged more in conversation. It will be very interesting to see their upcoming proposal.

Wednesday I attended a meeting of the executive board for CAMPO (Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization). Our agenda had two public hearings and one discussion item. Our first public hearing was on fiscal year 2019 LAPP (Locally Administered Projects Program). The staff presented the percentage mix for modal investment in transportation. Projects will be submitted for consideration until the end of October. Our second public hearing was the SPOT 5.0 modal candidate project list that covers a decade. SPOT is the long term plan and usually is big projects such as the Harrison Avenue bridge over the railroad tracks. Some of the projects in the priority list moved from the last five years of the decade to the first five years because of NCDOT’s commitment to spend down some of the two billion in reserves. Our discussion item was a review of the 2045 Metropolitan Transportation Plan. There were three scenarios presented: do nothing, do everything, or do something in the middle. Of course the doing nothing scenario creates a traffic nightmare and the do everything scenario is cost prohibitive so the committee approved the do something in the middle scenario. After informational items our meeting concluded after about one and a half hours.

Thursday I once again joined staff members and some council members to meet the last of the four consultant groups interested in designing the final phase of the downtown park. This group, although based in Brooklyn, seemed to have a great understanding of what Cary was about and what we were looking for. My interactions with them were mostly answering questions. They seemed very interested in getting to know the back stories of why things were and what we were hoping for in the future.

Thursday night I caught a flight to Atlanta to see a project in Alpharetta similar to what is being proposed in our Eastern Gateway. I was joined by all council members but Smith.

Friday we met with Columbia Development and all of their partners in the Avalon project of Alpharetta to hear their thoughts of how they felt a similar project would work in Cary’s Eastern Gateway. We spent the morning asking questions of developers, designers, architects, and city officials. In the afternoon we toured and explored Avalon to see some of its unique features. Some of the unique features I thought were interesting included:

  • The restaurants and bars in the center of the main street in addition to being on each side of the main street.
  • The multiple rooftop areas for the restaurants and bars.
  • The various unique “rooms” for seating and relaxing.
  • Tunnel like areas that led from the main street to parking which was another separate place to relax and enjoy.

It will be interesting to see if any of these features are offered at conditions to their forthcoming proposal.

 

Friday night the group visited the Battery where the new Atlanta Braves stadium is located. Since there was a game it atmosphere was more party oriented. But again that was a development with a mainstreet feel.

The trip was a success in the sense that you feel better about what they are planning to propose. That is, we have seen proof of what this team can build that is similar to what is being proposed.

The town manager’s report for this week included:

Wake Transit Implementation

Town staff attended Wake Transit’s Implementation Stakeholder’s Workshop on Wednesday at the Raleigh Convention Center. The workshop focused on public outreach and engagement. The main takeaway points were to establish a framework for the public engagement process as well as determine the way to reach target audiences: local workers, employers, elected officials, millennials, students, and senior citizens. 

The second half of the workshop centered around Major Investment Studies (MIS) and Multi-Year Bus Service Implementation Plan (MYBSIP) for FY2018. The MIS will provide transit operating agencies a prescribed list of priorities for short and long-term service expansion opportunities. On the other hand, the MYBSIP will potentially allow GoCary to expand bus service in West Cary (between O’Kelly Chapel Road and Green Level Church Road through McCrimmon Parkway). Western Cary is a priority of Imagine Cary – along with the MYBSIP Plan for transit expansion, and the proposed plans will determine when to implement feasible service.

SHUNK USA Groundbreaking

Mayor Pro Tem Ed Yerha made comments at the groundbreaking for SHUNK USA’s new 41,000 sq. ft. building expansion on Kitty Hawk Drive. The expansion will add manufacturing, office and training space. Council Member Ken George also attended along with Rep. Joe John and Morrisville Council Member Michael Schlink. After the groundbreaking, Milton Guerry, President of SHUNK USA, provided information about the products that SHUNK provides to manufacturers across the globe.

Shunk is an industry-leading clamping and gripping components manufacturer. At the Cary facility, they primarily manufacture gripping components – parts for machines (robots) that are used in all types of manufacturing.

Raleigh-Wake Home Builders Presentation

On Wednesday, I joined Scot Berry and Ken Hawley to present to the Raleigh-Wake Home Builders Association (HBA) Governmental Affairs Committee Meeting. I shared a bit on my career background, leadership philosophy and Cary’s future development outlook as outlined in the Image Cary Community Plan. Scot spoke about the evolution of the Development Services Department and on-going initiatives to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the development process in the Town of Cary. We discussed both short and longer term efforts, such as using technology to better track reviews, streamlining workflows, and developing a knowledge base. Ken gave an overview of FY17 Inspections & Permits numbers. During FY17 staff performed approximately 80,000 inspections (99.77% were completed on the day they were scheduled), and over 37,000 plan review steps (at a 94.1% timeliness rate). The HBA Committee asked several questions which resulted in a very productive dialog.

#CityHallSelfie Day

On August 15 the Town joined municipalities across the country in marking #CityHallSelfie Day, a day for municipal workers to snap a selfie while at work. Across Facebook and Twitter, we had a total of 19 selfies shared by Town employees, reaching over 21,700 social media users. I want to thank staff who joined in the fun, and show appreciation to Council member Lori Bush for participating, too. You can read more about the one-day event on ELGL’s website.

Recognitions

Congratulations and recognition go to Town Attorney Chris Simpson for participating and graduating from UNC School of Government’s Public Executive Leadership Academy (PELA). Chris attended PELA along with other senior management officials from cities across North Carolina. We look forward to learning more about her experience!

 

Emails from citizens this week included:

  • A concern about safety with the Cary Parkway construction
  • A thank you for sidewalk construction on West Cornwall
  • Concerns about the White Oak rezoning proposal
  • A request to change traffic signal timing at High House and Lilly Ridge Road
  • A traffic concern on O’Kelly Chapel Road
  • A request for my opinion on what Cary will do with laws related to cannabis (our authority is from the legislature and we do not have authority to consider such a law)
  • A request for roads to be funded by CAMPO (Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization)
  • A request to approve the IKEA proposal for the mall site (I currently don’t know of any opposition to this request)
  • A complaint about fiber installation digging up a yard
  • A complaint about the Cube Smart facility along Highway 55

Next week will be a busy week. Activities include a Mayors Association meeting, a work session on board appointments, a meet-and-greet with members from one of our sister cities, a regularly scheduled council meeting, many small meetings, and Lazy Daze.

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

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• Sunday, August 13th, 2017

This week’s activities included a chamber event and a council meeting.

Monday I called council members to hear of concerns or questions about Thursday’s agenda for the regularly scheduled council meeting. I was able to contact most of them and there were very few questions or concerns. The only issue seemed to be the CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) funding for Habitat. Later in the day I met with key staff members to go over the agenda. There was not much on the agenda so our meeting was short. I predicted our council meeting would last about an hour and a half.

Tuesday I taped the next episode of Cary Matters with Don Frantz. Our topic was road projects and we did the taping in one take.

Wednesday I joined all council members in the annual Cary Chamber Leadership dinner. Former Cary council members in attendance included Representative Gale Adcock and Wake County Commissioner Erv Portman. Others in attendance included Wake County School board members, Wake County Commissioners, and representatives from our congressional offices. Every year the chamber holds this event to thank its leaders at every level of government. I had the honor of speaking to the more than 100 people in attendance about the importance of partnerships at all levels of government. I believe Cary’s success is largely dependent on the elected officials, town staff, the chamber, and business leaders working together toward a common goal of making Cary greater than it is today. Cary is blessed to have so many good leaders in our business community that are involved and engaged. My table included the next Chairman of the Cary Chamber, the General Manager of MetLife in Cary, the Senior Vice President of Wake Med in Cary, and a senior executive from AT&T. We had a great discussion that ranged from town projects to personal experiences. The event also had a surprise visitor, the future owner of the Carolina Hurricanes who pledged to move to this area. Thanks to the Cary Chamber for recognizing all our leaders.

Thursday the council held its first regularly scheduled meeting of the month. The agenda included one consent item, two public hearings, three discussion items, and a quasi-judicial hearing. Most of the speakers for the evening spoke at Public Speaks Out and were from the Scottish Hills neighborhood. Unfortunately, they made negative comments about the Habitat for Humanity organization that was recently rezoned for their neighborhood. They requested that CDBG (Community Development Block Grants) not be given to the Habitat organization and to be given to other organizations even though the apolitical staff process scored Habitat with the highest score. After much discussion, the council approved the staff recommended CDBG funding despite council member George’s objections and criticism of Habitat.

Other decisions made at the meeting included the order to demolish a dilapidated structure on Marilyn Court, three new school speed zones, and modification requests from Cary Academy which were required for adding a new science building.

Saturday I had the honor and pleasure of being a part of India’s Independence Day celebrations at the Hindu temple in Morrisville. I was joined by several dignitaries including the Governor, Secretary of State Marshall, Representative Adcock, Wake county commissioners, Mayor Pro-Tem Yerha, the Morrisville mayor and several Morrisville council members. First there was a small parade, followed by anthems for both countries, and then the raising of the American, India, and North Carolina flags. The crowd then headed to the fellowship hall to hear speeches and observe performances.

While I was at the India Independence Day celebration I was approached by a group called Skilled Immigrants in America. They wanted to make me and others aware that there are many highly skilled Indians (advanced degrees) that have been legally living and working in the US for over ten years. They are now stuck in a green card backlog with current wait times estimated between 40 and 70 years. At the same time wait time for applicants from other countries averages around a year. As a result they can’t start a business or hire American workers, cannot freely invest in this country, and are limited in international travel. If they are laid off from their jobs they would have to sell all that they own and leave the country within 60 days. I promised I would mention their issue on this blog. It is a shame that our country has come to this. We probably need to change the Statue of Liberty quote of “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” to have a “Don’t” at the beginning.

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

Pressure Zone Shift Completed

We have completed the second of a series of incremental pressure zone boundary shifts this week to restore central pressure to several communities in the vicinity of Davis Drive and High House Road. The pressure zone shifts, which provide an increase in pressure of approximately 40-psi, are part of a longer term plan for expanding the central pressure zone boundary to provide greater transmission capacity and redundancy within the pipeline network serving the central pressure zone. The first shift was initiated following a water main break at Waldo Rood Boulevard earlier this year. The pressure zone shifts are being implemented in stages to improve our ability to assist citizens with the pressure change. Additional incremental pressure zone shifts are planned next year and in subsequent years.

Pitching Ideas at the Hackathon

On Friday for two hours, hackers, pitchers and interested observers gathered at the Cary Arts Center to take ideas or problems and build solutions! Employees from all departments heard their colleagues pitch ideas and work through solutions with the help of teammates. Many of the pitches displayed a OneCary mindset that would benefit the entire organization. Thanks to The Garage Hackers for leading such an innovative and inspiring event.

NCDOT Stakeholder Advisory Committee Update

Last week Jerry Jensen attended a committee meeting with NCDOT to discuss planned improvements from I-440 from Wade Avenue in Raleigh to Walnut Street in Cary. This project is currently progressing through the Environmental Assessment Process. The basic concepts include widening the highway from four to six lanes, with major interchange improvements. In Cary, there are no changes to the planned interchanges at Walnut Street or the I-40/440/US-1/64. In Cary there should also be no right of way impacts planned and all road widening contained within the existing right of way.

Cary Ranked Top 10 Safest Place to Raise a Child

We’re happy to report that SafeWise has released its updated 30 Safest Cities to Raise a Child for 2017 just in time for the school season. Cary ranked among the safest in the nation.

Coding and Viewing Party

Last weekend, 52 girls attended the Made with Code party hosted at The Cary Theater for a free coding event and viewing of the Oscar nominated film, Hidden Figures. This event was sponsored by Google and the National Foundation for Women Legislators with partnership from the Town of Cary. These viewing parties are held across the nation in an effort to encourage girls that are interested in coding and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). Special thanks to Information Services for helping to make the event so successful.

City Hall Selfie Day

Tuesday, August 15 is #CityHallSelfie Day across the country. This is a great opportunity to show the virtual world just how great it is to work in Cary where we’re coming together to create the local government that doesn’t exist.

Using personal social media accounts on Twitter and/or Facebook, tag your photo with #CaryNC and #CityHallSelfie. We’ll be posting throughout the day on the Town’s official accounts. In addition, there’s a contest through www.ELGL.org to capture specific types of local government selfies.

Recognitions

The attached excerpt is from a book entitled Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. The particular passage touches on some of the themes we have been talking and thinking about as a group. Being open and vulnerable with one another will make us all stronger. Thanks to Dan Clinton for pointing this out.

And a shout out to Jeff Adkins for publishing in the trade magazine, NC Currents, about Cary’s reclaimed program. The article touches on the Town’s approach to customer service, operational challenges and planning for our future.

 

Emails from citizens this week included the following:

  • Comments about the White Oak rezoning proposal
  • A complaint about a penalty being assessed for not paying a water bill
  • Complaints from Scottish Hills residents about proposed future funding of Habitat
  • A concern about the Piney Plains rezoning
  • Support for demolishing a dilapidated house on Marilyn Circle
  • A safety concern about construction on NW Cary Parkway

Next week’s activities include meetings with architects and designers for phase two of the downtown park, a CAMPO (Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization) meeting, and a trip to Atlanta to observe development issues.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, August 20th.  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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