Harold’s Blog: Christmas Week in Cary

Cary, NC – Since this was considered a holiday week for many there was not a lot going on.

Monday – Saving $8 Million

Monday I joined the town clerk and key financing staff to sign bonds that were refinanced. The refinancing of these bonds will save us about $8 million.

Monday night I joined four other council members and several staff members at the Wake County Mayors Association’s Christmas Party. It was a great time to talk and build relationships with mayors and other elected officials from municipalities in Wake County. It was also a good time to be with my council colleagues and their spouses.

Tuesday – Celebrating the Season

Tuesday I attended the Menorah lighting ceremony at the Cary Arts Center. This was the last night of Hanukkah. Mayor Pro-Tem Bush led the ceremony which included live entertainment. Several council members were there. We were able to pose and get a picture of the Menorah, the downtown park Christmas tree, and the downtown park fountain which seemed to capture the holiday celebrations going on downtown. Everyone seemed to have a great time.

The rest of the week was spent celebrating with family and friends including joining a Hanukah celebration. My family kept its tradition of attending Christmas Eve service at Cary Presbyterian.

Cary Water

This week a news story reported the presence of non-regulated compounds in Jordan Lake and Cary’s drinking water today. This story was based on personal research, as opposed to EPA commissioned research, being led by a Cary resident, who is also a Duke University scientist. The story implied that Cary’s drinking water might not be safe. IMHO this was not newsworthy and instead was an opportunity for one of our local TV stations to do a little Cary bashing. Shame on them! First and foremost Cary’s water is safe! We continue to meet or exceed all regulatory standards, standards that are set not by the Town of Cary but by the EPA and State of North Carolina. We are in contact with our regulators, the State of North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality, to ensure we are taking appropriate action with regards to monitoring and treatment as well as to stay abreast of the latest information regarding these non-regulated substances. And the Town has also undertaken our own water testing using an independent third party, the results of which continue to show that we are below the EPA Health Advisory thresholds. For those who are interested in the detail, we have established a web page on the topic:

http://www.townofcary.org/services-publications/water-sewer-stormwater/water/water-treatment/emerging-contaminants. Keeping our water safe is a top priority, and we will continue to work closely with all parties engaged in the water quality of Jordan Lake.

Town Manager Report

The town manager’s report for the week included:

Previewing Next Week

I hope that everyone can enjoy time with family and friends over the next week! As such, Town Hall and most staffed facilities, including community centers and arts centers, will close at 5 p.m. on December 22 and reopen December 28. Given the closures, we will not be sending out a Weekly Report next week and will resume with a report January 5.

In addition, during the weeks of Christmas and New Year’s, curbside collection will bump one day later for all citizens and other natural greenery can be disposed of as part of weekly yard waste service. GoCary will not operate and the Citizen’s Convenience Center will be closed on Christmas and New Year’s Day.

ATT & O’Kelly Chapel Pedestrian Improvements

Town staff has been working with NCDOT, Chatham County, and the Rails to Trails Conservancy on pedestrian and cyclist safety at the ATT crossing on O’Kelly Chapel Road to help identify methods or treatments to improve interactions between drivers and trail users. An officer by the Town to provide a Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon system (similar to the installation on Maynard Rd. at Godbold Park) for this crossing was reviewed and approved by all parties. We are currently working with our vendor to procure the equipment and with NCDOT to obtain an encroachment agreement for the construction. Installation is expected to be complete by Spring 2018.

Cary Chosen for 2018 Smart 50 Award

The Town of Cary has been selected to be a recipient of a 2018 Smart 50 Award for our Simulated Smart City, which is our smart campus program. The competition was fierce, and we were up against applicants from around the world in more than a dozen countries. The Smart 50 Awards, in partnership with Smart Cities Connect, Smart Cities Connect Foundation and US Ignite, annually recognize global smart cities projects, honoring the most innovative and influential work in five categories: governance, mobility, energy, citizen life, and networks. The Simulated Smart City program was selected as a winner in the network category and will be honored at the awards gala in March at the Smart Cities Connect Conference & Expo in Kansas City, MO.

Teaming Up for Scholarships

On Saturday, Bradford’s Ordinary Fire Company and Whole Foods teamed up to support the PRCR Scholarship Fund. Whole Foods shoppers enjoyed visits with Santa and sips of hot chocolate alongside a fun group of Cary firefighters. The enthusiastic bunch brought in donations totaling $1,015 for the fund.

Fire Training Among Partners

On Tuesday, Cary Fire hosted our mutual aid partners from Apex and Morrisville for some technical rescue training at the Public Works Operations Center. It was special having all three agencies work together in training.

Citizen Celebrates Cary Bonds

We have one Cary citizen who is excited to own Town of Cary bonds. Mr. Yoakum stayed in touch with Mary Beth Huber through the recent revenue bond sale and was able to purchase $5,000 of Cary bonds to bring his Cary bond investment portfolio to $10,000. Mary Beth had invited him to come watch the sale, but when we moved it earlier in the week to take advantage of the interest rate markets he couldn’t make it. Nonetheless, he stopped by on Tuesday to meet Mary Beth and brought her some homemade candy.

Wake County Public Schools Meeting

Staff met with representatives from Wake County Public Schools this week to discuss recent legislation which now requires municipalities and the North Carolina Department of Transportation to reimburse schools (including charter and private schools) for construction of required road improvements.  More meetings are planned with WCPSS and NCDOT for further discussion and ways to partner effectively to maximize safety and mobility for school children and the traveling public.

Recognitions

On Tuesday, we finished our last Imagine Cary Deep Dive session offered to all employees. This was an amazing effort to share the goals and vision of the community plan broadly across the organization. These sessions were orchestrated by a large group of folks and special thanks goes to everyone involved for setting up and organizing this great opportunity.

Emails

Emails from citizens this week included:

  • A request for an update on the next phase of the downtown park.
  • A request to increase funding for sidewalks.
  • Several invitations to events and ceremonies.
  • A comment about Cary’s diversity of birds on the Black Creek Greenway.

Next week will be another holiday week and will include three meetings. I will spend most of the week on my 2018 State of Cary address.

Get in Touch

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, December 31st.  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.


From the blog of Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht. Photo by Hal Goodtree.

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