Cary, NC — This was another busy week for the mayor’s office.
Monday: Mayor’s Association
Monday started with a Mayor’s Association reception for the Wake County legislative delegation. In attendance from the delegation were Representatives Gill, Holley, Jackson, Stam, Barefoot, Hall, Murry and Dollar. Senator Stein was planning on attending but was unable due to an illness. Our conversations covered a variety of topics including the Jordan Lake Rules, restructuring taxes and how that impacts municipalities, and bills that reduce local authority.
After the reception nine out of twelve Wake County mayors met for about two hours. Mayors in attendance included Killen, Williams, Stohlman, Burn, Jones, Matheny, Eagles, McFarlane, and me. In our discussion we decided that more frequent gatherings and meetings with the legislators would be beneficial. In addition, we decided to try and meet with the Wake County commissioners at least a couple of times a year.
Tuesday started with an interview by an NC State Student on Leadership. Some of the questions included greatest accomplishments, biggest disappointments, leadership lessons learned, and leadership style. It was a fun interview and I hope I didn’t ramble too much.
Later Tuesday I met with the town manager and the assistant to the town manager to go over several issues. Some of the issues we discussed were the Oxford house, downtown development, staff/council communications, and an economic development issue.
Tuesday night I joined Jack Smith in answering questions after an annual homeowners’ association meeting. It is always interesting to hear some of the biggest questions concerning citizens. Some of the questions included what the town was doing about Google fiber, if there was a plan to widen Holly Springs Road, and a question about the Cary Parkway extension. We answered questions for about fifteen minutes. If you think it would be beneficial for a council member to attend your homeowners’ association meeting, please don’t hesitate to ask.
Wednesday: Campo Funds for Cary Projects
Wednesday I represented Cary at the monthly meeting of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) meeting. There were two items on the agenda of interest to Cary.
CAMPO unanimously approved additional projects including the right of way acquisition of a portion of Green Level West Road. In addition, CAMPO approved the Locally Administered Projects Program for fiscal year 2015 that included $3 million for the Morrisville Parkway extension, $668,000 for Lake Pine Drive improvements, and $2,715,000 for the White Oak Greenway.
CAMPO members also heard updates from NCDOT representatives. Those reports included information about the Morrisville Parkway grade separation project that will impact many Cary residents. The project will go under the railroad tracks.
The CAMPO meeting concluded after about an hour.
The Cary/Apex Water Treatment Plant Committee (drinking water) met Thursday to approve two new water contracts.
We approved the contract for the Cary/Apex Water Treatment Facility Phase III Expansion. This expansion will allow the town to produce 56 million gallons a day instead of the current 40 million gallons a day. That capacity should serve Apex, Morrisville, and Cary for several years.
This contract will now be presented to the Apex and Cary council’s for approval. Once approved construction can begin. It is estimated that construction will take about two years.
In a separate action the committee also approved a contract for the construction of the Cary/Apex Raw Water Pumping Station Phase III expansion. Our meeting only lasted a few minutes and consisted of a presentation, discussion and a vote.
Later Thursday the Western Wake Partners Policy Advisory Committee (sewage) met to approve the operating budget for the next fiscal year (2015).
Action taken at the meeting included naming me as chair of the committee, approval of the budget, and information about the beginning of the new plant operations. It is anticipated that the plant will come on line this summer and will be fully operational later in the year. A ribbon cutting is being planned for the fall.
Email from Town Staff
In emails from staff this week there was a summary of the Morrisville Parkway grade separation project that included the following information:
- NCDOT has awarded the contract and the contractor may begin work in April 2014.
- Federal stimulus funds are being used for the project, so the project construction, close-out documents, and all other federal reporting, must be completed by May 2017; however, they are expecting actual physical construction to be completed by the end of 2016.
- The project anticipates leaving Morrisville Parkway open to two-way traffic for majority of project; however, there will come a time when the rail road bridge must be erected and an off-site detour must be put in place. The detour will be NC54 (Chapel Hill Road) to Cary Parkway to Davis Drive. The contractor has been given no more than 180-days in the construction agreement for a detour time frame and the detour is generally to begin the spring of 2015. NCDOT believes that a more realistic time frame for beginning of the detour will be sometime around February 2016. The state will be providing periodic updates on anticipated detour schedules as the project progresses.
- Early in the project, there will be a short-term detour lasting no more than seven days (contractually) where they must close Morrisville Parkway at the rail road to install new crossing gates and detour tracks.
- Early in the project, the contractor will be making some improvements to three intersections that are located along the detour route. The intersections are Town Hall Drive at Morrisville-Carpenter Road, Weston Parkway at NC54 (Chapel Hill Road), and Davis Drive at Morrisville Parkway. The improvements mainly consist of extending turn lane storage lengths to facilitate larger volumes of turning traffic and adjustments to signal timing.
- Early on in the project a new traffic signal will be installed at the intersection of Crabtree Crossing Parkway at Morrisville Parkway.
NCDOT will continue to provide Cary routine construction updates.
Other Road Projects
The town staff also summarized other projects in the area such as the Bradford Development and the Town’s intersection project at Cary Parkway & High House Road, the following is information about potential timing:
- Bradford Development: it appears that the exterior road widening along Davis Drive and High House Road is substantially complete, with just a few remaining punch list items. Traffic signals at the development’s site entrances are substantially installed and will soon be operational. Internal to the site, there still remains significant amounts of building construction to take place; however, construction traffic will have safe ingress and egress to the site using the newly installed traffic signals. We don’t believe that the Bradford project will have any impact to detour traffic once initiated by the closure of Morrisville Parkway.
- Cary Parkway / High House Road Intersection Project: The town is currently working through contractual agreements with our selected design consultant and is expected to begin design in early April. Design and Environmental Document process is expected to take approximately 9-12 months. Once completed, the town will initiate right-of-way purchases, which may take between 6-12 months. Actual timing of construction has not been formally set, but it will follow completion of right-of-way purchases. In addition, staff will need to monitor the progress of the state’s Morrisville Parkway Grade Separation Project to determine if there will be an overlap; however, we believe the state’s project will most likely be substantial complete before the town’s project begins.
Information from Cary’s Biennial Survey was provided to council members in a notebook (about two inches thick) this week. A total of 405 residents were surveyed resulting in a margin of error of plus or minus 5%. Here are some of the findings:
- The town government staff continued to receive high marks: courteous A-, professionalism B+, promptness of response B+, helpful B+, knowledgeable B, and overall customer service B. While some of these showed declines none were significantly significant.
- The town’s rating for maintenance of streets remained at a C. Streets mentioned the most were Maynard, Cary Parkway, High House, Chatham, Kildaire Farm, and Walnut. The key issues were potholes and rough pavement. It should be noted that these are NCDOT maintained roads.
- Respondents were positive in their rating of Cary as a great place to live. The mean was 8.23 out of 9 giving a grade of A-.
- Respondents felt very safe overall in Cary. The mean was 8.15 of 9 with 96.8% answering on the safe side of the scale.
- Cary’s municipal tax rate was perceived as “about right” by 66.9% of respondents. It should be noted that Cary has the lowest tax rate in Wake County.
- The town council focus areas earned good ratings with a decline in mean from 2012 which was an exceptional year for ratings. The mean decrease was not statistically significant.
- In conclusion 1 grade improved, 16 grades remained unchanged, and 10 declined for service dimensions. Only 4 of the declines reached statistical significance. The ratings were not up to the exceptional 2012 results and coincide more with previous years.
The council should receive a survey briefing soon in a work session.
Emails from Citizens
Emails from citizens this week include a complaint about a house that may have drug dealers, a complaint about fees for Bond Park, a complaint about possible rezoning violations, a complaint that the police department was encrypting their communications, a complaint about a group home on Maynard, a complaint about a rezoning proposal, and a request for council to support an advocacy website.
Get in Touch
This week will be another full calendar for me and will include a council meeting, a work session, a taping of Cary Matters, several events and ceremonies.
Well that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, March 30th. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the blog of Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht.