Cary, NC – This week included a council meeting and several important events.
Monday – Cary Police Chief
Monday I joined the entire council at the retirement of Police Chief Tony Godwin. He was one of the best chiefs that Cary has ever had and did a LOT of amazing things. As part of the ceremony I read a proclamation recognizing his service:
COMMENDING ANTHONY (TONY) GODWIN FOR
HIS DEVOTED SERVICE TO THE TOWN OF CARY
WHEREAS, Tony holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from N.C. State University and a master’s degree in justice administration from Methodist University. While completing his degree at N.C. State, Tony was assigned to work as an intern for the Cary Police Department.
WHEREAS, after 28 years with the Cary Police Department, Tony is retiring. After joining the police department in 1990 as a patrol officer, he served in numerous other capacities, including leadership positions on Cary’s Emergency Response Team, Field Operations and Criminal Investigations Division. In addition, he served as major for both the Services Bureau and Operations Bureau. Tony was promoted to Deputy Police Chief in 2014 and Chief of Police in August of 2015.
WHEREAS, during Tony’s tenure as Police Chief, the department earned its eighth consecutive accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). In addition to reaccreditation, the Police Department received its second consecutive Accreditation with Excellence Award from CALEA.
WHEREAS, Tony’s dedication to the citizens of Cary is exemplified by operating under a law enforcement philosophy called Geo Policing to help keep Cary one of the best places to live, work and raise a family in America. Since Tony was named Cary’s Police Chief, the Town of Cary has been consistently ranked one of the safest communities in the nation.
WHEREAS, Tony has been instrumental in the success of Building Bridges, a partnership between African-American pastors, community members and the Cary Police Department to promote understanding and cooperation. Monthly rap sessions held at local barbershops are part of that initiative and have proven to be life-changing for the citizens of Cary.
WHEREAS, Tony’s career with the Cary Police Department earned him numerous awards and recognitions from his peers in law enforcement, including being nominated for Employee of the Year in 2004 and receiving multiple special awards for going above and beyond the call of duty while serving as the Emergency Response Team Commander.
WHEREAS, Tony has contributed to the professional development of numerous Town employees due to his vast knowledge of police operations and willingness to help others.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Harold Weinbrecht, Jr., Mayor of the Town of Cary, on behalf of the entire Town Council, express our appreciation to Tony for his 28 years of faithful service and devotion to enhancing the quality of life for Cary residents. We thank Tony for his vision and leadership, and we wish him much happiness and continues success in his retirement years.
Words can’t really express how much we will miss him. After the ceremony we lined the sidewalk outside the chambers and gave him goodbye hugs as a bagpipe played. How fitting for such a great guy.
Wednesday – Diwali Dance Group
Wednesday I joined the dance group from our Diwali celebrity performance in October for a celebration dinner. The celebrity dance in October included yours truly along with NC Representative Adcock, Mayor Pro-Tem Bush, and Mayor Cawley of Morrisville.
At our dinner we discussed having another performance next year with more celebrities. We’ll see.
Thursday – Cary Town Council
Thursday the council held its last regularly scheduled meeting of the year. The agenda included 3 presentations, 12 consent agenda items, 2 public hearings, and 2 discussion items.
The first presentation was on Walter Hines Page from Ms. Nancy Jirtle of the Pinehurst DAR. Walter Hines Page was the son of Frank Page Cary’s founder. He was an American journalist, publisher, diplomat, and was the United States ambassador to the United Kingdom during World War I. Ms. Jirtle provided us information and slides about a ceremony held in London for Page where a wreath was laid at a memorial in honor of his service.
Our second presentation was by the town manager for the employees and employee team of the year. Cary has the best staff in the state if not the country. We are so blessed to have so many that dedicate their lives to serving others. Thanks to all the employees of Cary for all they do to make this one of the best places in America.
The final presentation was the fiscal year financial report including a report from an independent auditor. As usually Cary has excellent finances and the auditor gave Cary the all clear. Several highlights were given by the Director of Finance in the report including a $10 million dollar savings from refinancing. Thanks to all those in Finance who work so hard to protect our taxpayer dollars.
Our first public hearing was on a Veterinarian Hospital looking to expand its parking lot to an adjacent lot. Neighbors complained about stormwater runoff, lighting, noise, and traffic. All of these items were addressed with comments and questions by staff and council. This will come back to us in a few months for a decision.
The second public hearing was on a Holly Springs Road property owner looking to subdivide his property. Again we will make a decision on this in a few months.
The first discussion item was whether or not to accept $300,000 grant for stormwater. That was a no brainer. The grant will offer incentives for green infrastructure, engage economically vulnerable residents to improve their personal resiliency, and create a training program to drive uptake and success. The Town will work with Step-Up Ministry, Dorcas Ministry, North Carolina State University, and the City of Raleigh to implement the projects.
Our last discussion item was on E Scooters in Cary. The council adopted an ordinance clarifying that obstructions of all types are prohibited in public streets, sidewalks, and greenways and provided staff clear authority, but not the obligation, to clear such obstructions as necessary. In summary, you can’t put/park the E Scooters in public areas like on sidewalks but other than that they remain unregulated. I suspect we will do more with E Scooters once the state legislature has finished their bill on E Scooters.
The council meeting concluded after about two hours.
Friday – Electric Scooters and Small Cell
Friday I participated in a meeting of the North Carolina Metro Mayors Association on legislative actions. Various topics were discussed including the legislators surprise at Apple’s decision. Legislators will probably have to remain in session until the 23rd to override any Governor vetoes. Two pieces of legislation discussed included a technical corrections bill, which is a catch all, and an elections board bill. E Scooters was dropped out of the technical corrections bill which leaves E Scooters unregulated at the state level. It is believed this will be taken up early in the next session.
Other items in the technical corrections bill included Small Cell companies being except from fees. Also, committed money was taken from a downtown revitalization project and moved to downtown repairs for various communities hurt by floods. The elections board bill was partially negotiated by the Governor and it is believed he will not veto it. The Governor will remain the sole selector of election board members. Also included in the bill were rules for the possible redo of the 9th congressional district. That is, voter id will not be required.
Saturday –Wreaths Across America
Saturday I had the honor in participating in the Cary Wreaths Across America ceremony at Hillcrest cemetery. Each December there is a National Wreaths Across America Day with a mission to Remember, Honor and Teach everyone about our veterans. There are wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, as well as at more than 1,400 additional locations in all 50 U.S. states, at sea and abroad. There were about 200 in attendance at the Cary location I, along with several others provided remarks. Here is an excerpt from my remarks:
“…I am proud to be here today at our historic Hillcrest Cemetery to honor and remember our nation’s heroes. I, along with so many in our community, benefit each day from the sacrifices our veterans have made for us. Please accept our heartfelt gratitude.
This time of year evokes strong emotions for many of us. I want to thank you for having this event to help keep the memory of our veterans alive. We must NEVER, EVER forget our fallen veterans, POWs, and MIAs, and we must ALWAYS HONOR those who have served and are serving.
Today, let us remember the meaning of those stars and stripes; the idea of democracy, and the uniting of citizens to fight for a better future for us all. …”
After the ceremony we all participated in placing one of about 200 wreaths on graves of our veterans.
Town Manager’s Report
The town manager’s report for this week included:
Chief Godwin Retires
Police Chief Tony Godwin retired after 28 years of exemplary service to the Town of Cary and our community. His retirement celebration was well-attended by family, friends, colleagues, co-workers and elected officials, most prominently, our own council members, which was much appreciated by Tony and by me.
Tony was honored with a social held in the Town Hall lobby where a receiving line formed for those seeking the opportunity to engage with Tony directly to offer thanks and well-wishes. The celebration then moved to the Council Chambers for a more formal ceremony including presentations. Thanks to the mayor for presenting council’s proclamation. Other presentations included The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the US flag that had flown over the U.S. Capitol Building, and his service weapon and badge.
Although Chief Godwin has officially started the next chapter of his life, he has left an indelible mark on all who know him. His devotion, commitment and passion for creating lasting and sustainable partnerships with community members has served as a model for other police leaders and communities. We thank Tony for his gentle demeanor and servant leadership and wish him all the best in his future.
Cary’s First Foray into Winter Weather
Employees traded leaf collectors for snow plows earlier this week as Cary had its first flirt with snow and ice. Because of the nature of the event—a wet, plowable snow— we did not use as much salt and salt/sand mix as usually required to clear so many inches of snow. I appreciate the round-the-clock dedication of our A-Team that helped citizens quickly return to their daily routines and am confident we’re ready for our next wintry mix.
South Cary Water Reclamation Facility Marks 30 Years of Service
On December 12, 1988, the South Cary Wastewater Treatment Plant began providing wastewater treatment to serve a growing community. The facility was initially constructed and permitted as a 6.4 MGD facility and was expanded to a 12.8 MGD facility in 2000. This facility has been a pioneer in multiple ways since it was first designed and built:
- SCWRF was the first large-scale wastewater facility in North Carolina to use ultraviolet disinfection (UV). The UV system was part of the plant’s design and initial operation and was an innovative technology which eliminated the use of chemicals for disinfection, thus keeping chemical byproducts out of the receiving stream.
- In 2001, the facility was the first in North Carolina to begin operating a reclaimed water distribution system, at which time the plant was renamed the South Cary Water Reclamation Facility (SCWRF).
- In 2005, the first large-scale thermal biosolids dryer in North Carolina was constructed at SCWRF, another innovative technology that produces EPA-certified “Class A, Exceptional Quality” biosolids pellets for beneficial reuse and sale as an organic soil conditioner.
The SCWRF also hosts a large solar panel installation through the lease of about 8 acres to our solar partner, FLS Energy. The system, placed in service in December 2012, has the capacity to generate 1.89 megawatts of electricity through its 5,918 solar panels – enough energy to power 174 homes and offset 1,772 tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually.
Today, the SCWRF receives wastewater from the southern part of Cary and most of downtown Cary, a service area population of approximately 62,000. The SCWRF has always been a leader among Neuse River Basin Treatment Facilities for nutrient removal performance with a consistent nitrogen removal rate of greater than 95%.
SCWRF maintains an excellent compliance record due to its exceptional nutrient removal and resource recovery performance. In 2018, the SCWRF received a Platinum Award from the National Association of Clean Water Agencies to celebrate its most recent 5-year period of excellent performance
This high-quality facility is emblematic of the dedication of Cary staff over the decades to the highest levels of innovation and excellence.
Pressure Zone Shift Complete
The planned pressure zone shift for the area surrounding Carpenter Village and Twin Lakes was completed on December 13. Approximately 1,700 homes and businesses experienced a pressure increase of 45-psi and are now part of the Central Pressure Zone. Citizens were notified of the operation through direct mailings, public meetings, web pages, Nextdoor and integrated voice response. This work is part of Cary’s water system management strategy to ensure a more resilient and reliable water system. The pressure zone shift also supports the implementation of the Good Hope Storage Tank, currently under construction.
There is one major pressure zone shift remaining which will be for the Preston Village and Heritage Pines areas; this shift is currently scheduled for April 2019. This last modification will complete the new pressure zone boundary. Planning is underway, and we expect to mail notices in January to approximately 1,200 homes in Preston Village and Heritage Pines.
Congratulations to Paul Ray, Manager of the North Cary Water Reclamation Facility and a 30-year Town of Cary employee and former Employee of the Year. Paul was recognized as a Top Performer by Treatment Plant Operator magazine in the December 2018 edition. Paul and his entire team at NCWRF do an incredible job. Congratulations, Paul, and thank you for serving Cary citizens so well.
Emails From Citizens
Emails from citizens this week included:
- A complaint about the North Harrison hotels approved a few weeks ago.
- A suggestion that affordable housing should be defined as 30% of an individual’s gross income.
- A complaint about a future rezoning proposal in the northwest part of Wake County (this has not reached council and we do not have information about it).
- A request for a charging station at Cary High School.
- Compliments to staff working on flooding issues at Harrison Grande townhomes.
- A complaint about future Reedy Creek Road widening and how it will impact bicycles.
Next week things will really slow down. Activities include the Mayors Association Christmas party, a Sister Cities event, and a Government Gab Podcast with Dude Solutions.
Get In Touch
Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, December 23rd. Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communications with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org and email personal comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the blog of Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht. Photos courtesy of Harold Weinbrecht.