From the blog of Don Frantz, District 2 Cary Town Council Member. Photos by Hal Goodtree.
Cary, NC – The first order of business was to recognize retiring councilwoman Julie Robison. Julie and her family are moving to West Virginia as Julie’s husband, Dan has been named the Dean of the college of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design at West Virginia University.
We all took turns saying our “goodbyes” and talked about what we would remember most about Julie. I talked about how I first met Julie about 10 years ago during the whole downtown auto issue, and that I and business owners throughout downtown are forever grateful for her efforts to help us fight city hall and save our businesses. We also surprised her by naming the volleyball courts at North Cary Park after her.
Downtown Business Improvement District
The council approved the creation of Cary’s first ever Business Improvement District (BID) in downtown. While BIDs are usually created to generate revenue (special tax district), our purpose for creating the BID is to provide the legal mechanism necessary to allow the town to mitigate impact fees associated with private development. Unlike most cities, Cary’s BID actually reduces fees on businesses, and hopefully will incent additional private investment in our downtown. The BID will exist for three years unless the council chooses to extend it.
Cary 2013 Budget
The council also unanimously approved the FY2013 budget. The budget totals $232 Million and includes:
- Tax Rate of 33 cents unchanged – lowest in Wake County
- Garbage fees unchanged at $14.00 month
- 6% Utility fee increase to pay for the state mandated Western Wake Water Reclamation Facility
- No New Debt for general capital projects
- Seven new town employees – 4 related to WWWRF, 1 Detective, 1 Downtown Theater
This was a tough year. The economic recession continues to impact growth and revenues and ultimately, our budget. Their simply wasn’t any extra money to do some of the things we wanted to do.
The adopted budget is responsible as it continues to provide the high levels of services that Cary citizens expect at the lowest possible cost to you, the taxpayer.
During the November Election, Cary citizens will have the opportunity to decide for themselves whether or not we move forward with a number of transportation, parks, and public safety projects that we could not include in this year’s budget.
Chatham County Agreement
And last but certainly not least, the Town of Cary and Chatham County have approved a joint land use plan and interlocal agreement! Any new development within the Cary/Chatham plan boundaries must conform to this plan, and any changes to the plan must be approved by both the Chatham County Commissioners and the Cary Town Council. The plan strikes a good balance between folk’s rights to develop their properties, the rights of others to not be negatively impacted by that development and protecting our environment. The plan limits densities and utility services as you move closer to Jordan Lake to better protect water quality while also preserving the rural character and charm of Chatham County.
I have to say I never thought I’d see the day when both Cary and Chatham County would agree on a plan. I remember former (thank goodness) Chatham County Commissioners coming to Cary Council meetings to tell Cary to “stay the hell out of Chatham County”. Many thanks to the staffs of both Chatham and Cary for all their hard work, and to the Cary/Chatham Committee members for all their efforts. This was truly a team effort and a great example of cooperation between communities.
I spent a great deal of time this weekend going over statements of interest and qualifications for the vacant at-large council seat; all 59 of them. This is not going to be an easy decision as there are a lot of extraordinary and highly qualified individuals to choose from.
We have our first council worksession on the vacancy this coming Tuesday where we hope to whittle the list down to a manageable number for interviews. Following the interview process we will meet again to hopefully pick our newest council member.