Harold’s Blog: Morrisville, Water, Newly Elected Reps, the Mailbag

From the blog of  Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht, covering the week through November 14, 2010.

This week was another slow week for me as mayor.

Cary and Morrisville

Monday subcommittees of the Morrisville Town Council and the Cary Town Council held their first meeting. This subcommittee adopted the following purpose statement:

“The purpose of the joint Cary-Morrisville subcommittee of the respective town councils is to provide elected officials of the two communities a regular opportunity to openly discuss matters of mutual interest.”

The Cary/Morrisville subcommittee agreed on a web page to hold information about past and future meetings.  The subcommittee agreed to meet quarterly unless circumstances call for more or less meetings. The next meeting is scheduled to take place in Morrisville in the month of February. At that meeting the subcommittee will discuss the following topics:

  • Greenway connectivity
  • Bus service
  • Comparison of development processes
  • Information update on the Highway 54 corridor study

At future meetings the subcommittee will discuss the following topics:

  • At grade crossing studies
  • Hotel/Motel food beverage tax
  • Evans Road extension
  • Parks and Recreation facilities sharing
  • Comparison of legislative authority

Water

On Tuesday I met with the town manager and the Mayor Pro-Tem to discuss ongoing issues. In addition to discussing the Western Wake Wastewater Facility we discussed the potential impacts of hosting elected officials (most recently School Board member Debra Goldman) at town hall.

Wednesday I had a meeting with the Cary/Apex Water Treatment Facility Advisory Committee. This is the group that makes recommendations for water capacity.

Interestingly, this group hasn’t met for several years and only one Apex staff member was present at the last meeting years ago. This committee includes both mayors, both town managers, and several key staff members.

The purpose of the meeting was to consider two issues related to the future expansion of the Apex/Cary water plant which pulls water from Jordan Lake. The first issue was to approve a consultant for the design of the future expansion. That expansion would take Cary’s daily production from 40 MGD (million gallons a day) to 56 MGD. The design will take about 18 months and would be valid for roughly two years afterward. That means we would need to consider expansion construction in at most three and a half years or redo the design.

The second issue of discussion was an inter-local agreement between Apex and Cary to address mutual aid. That is, if the agreement was approved we would help each other with capacity issues. We both agreed to direct our staffs to move in that direction.

It is important to note that Cary has about five years of capacity left. That depends a lot on conservation. The more we conserve, the later the need for expansion, and the later the cost of expansion. Both Apex and Cary councils are scheduled ratify the committee recommendations at their next regularly scheduled council meetings.

Congrats to newly elected officials

Other duties this week included calling all the newly elected representatives and senators that represent Cary. These include House members Weiss, Dollar, and Stam. I also called House member elect Murray. On the senator side I called Stein and Stevens from Wake County and Hackney and Atwater from Chatham County.

Although I tried various times of the day I was not able to get in touch with a single member. Therefore I left congratulatory messages and invited them to a reception we are planning in January.

The rest of the week was spent writing the December Cary Matters and starting the State of the Town message.

Mail Bag

The email box was full this week. Unfortunately, the homebuilders decided to fill up my email box with a cut and paste message regarding opting out of permit extension act. That would basically give developers extended time on approved projects.

The positive in doing this is that it helps a suffering industry in bad economic times. The negative of doing this is that infrastructure due to the impact of the projects will still have to be built. The delay of projects may mean that there is greater impact. If that greater impact is not paid for by the development that created it then the level of service drops or the citizens pay the difference.

Here was the message I received dozens of times from developer interests:

Dear Councilor,

By opting out of the permit extension act, you will simply be placing projects already approved at further risk.  Rather than spurring economic development and expanding the tax base, the Council will be pushing potentially viable projects to the brink of collapse.  The ongoing economic crisis simply makes obtaining financing extremely difficult, consequently stretching out project timelines.

As we continue to fight our way to economic recovery, it is critical that elected officials do all they can do to stimulate new economic development and expand tax base. Forcing previously approved projects to retool and seek new approvals will only impair your municipality’s tax base and economic development efforts. More importantly, based on the recent election, it is clear that citizens want elected officials to take all necessary and reasonable steps to ensure that our communities get back on stable economic footing as soon as possible. The General Assembly passed this legislation based on need, and clearly the need is still present.

Please reject the opt-out provision.

My Soapbox – Filling up our email boxes with a cut and paste message is not a good strategy. I received and understood the message the first time it was sent to me and the additional multiple messages just made it difficult to respond to citizens who had issues that needed addressing in a timely manner. So if the strategy was to prevent me from responding to citizens in a timely manner it succeeded! End Soapbox

Anyway, this decision will be a balancing act for council members. I am sure it will be a very difficult decision for some and others it will be straight forward.

Regarding other emails, I also received several supporting the opting out of the permit extension (these were not cut and paste). Other emails included a complaint about the school board, complaints about the Weldon Ridge Road alignment, a request to support Tryon Place, a complaint about me not communicating to Cary citizens (REALLY???), a complaint about Park West in Morrisville, a request to apply for a grant, and complaints about no parking signs in Carpenter Village.

Next week the pace will pick up for me with highlights including a Mayors Association meeting, a work session on the sign ordinance, and a council meeting.

Well that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, November 21st. Please feel free to email me with a comment.

Personal comments please send to augustanat@mindspring.com.
All Town of Cary business – please email me at Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org

Photo of Jordan Lake by Hal Goodtree

History: Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church

Story by Mary Beth Phillips, photo by Hal Goodtree

Morrisville, NC – Finding a Cary-area native is getting harder and harder these days, but if you travel down the road from Cary just a piece, you can find a community made up of folks that have been born and bred in these parts since their families settled here in the mid-1800s. Read more

Citizen of the Year: Jack Smith

(L->R) Howard Johnson, Harold Weinbrecht and Jack Smith. Photo by Hal Goodtree.

Cary, NC – Congratulations to our good friend, local businessman and Cary Town Council Member Jack Smith, who received the Citizen of the Year award at the Cary Chamber of Commerce’s annual banquet recently. The award is given each year to a person who has distinguished him or herself in service to the Cary community. Read more

Harold’s Blog: An Education on Election Day

From the blog of  Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht, covering the week through November 7, 2010.

This week was a slow week for me as mayor. It was a welcomed pace which allowed me to catch up on work and personal matters. Read more

Dorcas Ministries Helping Cary Families

Story and photos by Leslie Huffman

Cary, NC – This past week, I finally cleaned out my closets. I made a huge pile of clothes that we’ve out-grown or cannot wear anymore. I’m now ready to donate my things so that my unwanted items help the community in the best way possible. Read more

Cary Parks #1: MacDonald Woods Park

Part 1 in our Cary Parks series.

Cary, NC — Nestled alongside a small creek in an unassuming neighborhood lies one of the jewels of Cary’s park system – MacDonald Woods Park. It is not the largest (only 13.8 acres) nor the best equipped (there are no restrooms or shelters), but there is a certain charm to MacDonald Woods that attracts a variety of visitors, many from outside the neighborhood. Read more

Harold’s Blog: Jam-Packed Week

From the blog of  Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht, covering the week of October 31, 2010.

This week was a busy week with several events and a council meeting.

The Love Affair with Trains and Cary

Monday’s first event was the groundbreaking ceremony of the Cary Depot. I met several State and Federal officials at the train station in Raleigh. After a short reception, we boarded the train to Cary. As we arrived in Cary and departed the train, the Cary Band played “I’ve been working on the Railroad.” Getting off a train with a band playing was a unique and surreal experience for me. I thought that only happened in the movies. Anyway, it was a great treat and made me proud to represent Cary. Read more

Pictures: Cary Band Day 2010

Story and pictures by Hal Goodtree

Cary, NC – The sun was shining and the excitement was high on Saturday for the 52nd Annual Cary Band Day. Read more

History: Desegregating Cary

Author Peggy Van Scoyoc and Gwen Mattews at "Desegregating Cary" event

All photos by Brooke Meyer

Cary, NC – The turbulent Civil Rights Era was experienced right here in the Town of Cary, but many of us don’t know about it.

Real Life Stories

Peggy Van Scoyoc, Cary’s oral historian,  recently published a book titled “Desegregating Cary” to tell real life stories about people that lived through these times in Cary. In her book, Peggy records the oral histories of 43 people.

Five of those individuals spoke as part of a panel discussion on Monday, October 23 at the Page-Walker Arts and History Center.

Charlie Adams speaks of his father's commitment to desegregation

Charlie Adams is the son of Henry Adams, the original pharmacist and owner of the drugstore that later become Ashworth Pharmacy. Charlie remembers those times when his father was not popular in town.

Henry served on both the local Cary School Board and the Wake County School System’s board.

Henry knew in the early 1960’s that desegregation was coming and firmly believed in it. He thought  there should be a plan and it should begin with his own town. He became one of the chief architects of that plan.

At times friends shunned him and threats were made. Mr. Adams stuck to his beliefs and Cary became one of the first towns in North Carolina to institute such a plan  – and do so peacefully and voluntarily. One of Cary’s elementary schools,  Adams Elementary, is named so in his honor.

In 1963, Cary High School was the first formerly “all white” school to allow African-Americans to voluntarily enroll, and 6 girls did so. The plan went smoothly, and became a model for other schools in Wake County and then spread to other areas in North Carolina. Other areas in the south called upon Cary to help with their own plans. Imagine – Cary only had 5300 residents then and was a civil rights model for the country!

Other members of Monday night’s panel included several of those early students.

Lucille Evan Cotten was one of 6 students to integrate Cary High School in 1963

The Six Young Women Profiled

Lucille Evans Cotten and Gwen Matthews were two of those first six students. They spoke about what they endured as they attended Cary High School at a time when few wanted them there. Gwen later went on to become the first black woman to graduate from Meredith College in 1971.

Debrah Matthews Wright was one of the first black students at Swift Creek Elementary in 1965

Gwen’s younger sister, Deborah Matthews Wright was one of four black students to attend Swift Creek Elementary School in 1965. Deborah told of her bus rides with all ages riding the same bus – elementary schoolers along with high schoolers – and how she had to stand in the bus and endure ridicule on these rides for three years.

Carolyn Rogers was one of the first black school teachers in Cary in 1969.

Carolyn Rogers was one of three black teachers hired in 1969 to teach the predominantly white school children. She experienced an uphill battle not only with the students, but with the parents and faculty. There was a predominant  opinion that she was not qualified to teach the children.

The Raleigh City School System merged with the Wake County School System in 1976 to become the Wake County Public School System (WCPSS) that we know today.

The evening was always inspiring and often emotional.

“History informs us of past mistakes from which we can learn without repeating them. It also inspires us and gives confidence and hope bred of victories already won.” – William Hastie

Harold’s Blog – Business, Justice and Go Cart Racing

From the blog of Mayor Harold Weinbrecht, covering the week of October 24, 2010.

Cary, NC – This week was a busy week for not being a council meeting week. It included a Mayor’s Association outing, a few speaking engagements, and entertaining a group from Le Touquet, France. Read more