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

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

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

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

Harold’s Blog – Education, Park West and the Sound of Rock & Roll

From the blog of Mayor Harold Weinbrecht, covering the week of October 11, 2010.

Cary, NC – This week was my first week back from my fractured vertebrae injury. I had a full week including a council meeting and several weekend events. Read more

The Mayor’s Blog: My Aching Back

Editor’s Note: Starting this week, we’ll be republishing Mayor Harold Weinbrecht’s blog in CaryCitizen.

Cary, NC –  This week was a week of rest and recuperation from my fractured vertebrae injury. Read more

Editor's Journal: Reporting the Happy News

Cary, NC – Traditional media has a saying: “If it bleeds, it leads.” Old newspaper hands scoff at the idea that positive news is a viable business model.

Well, I’ve got 100,000 page views that say they’re wrong. Read more

Editor's Journal: 3 Months of CaryCitizen

It’s been three months since we launched CaryCitizen and now seems like a good time to share some info about where we’ve been and where we are going.

STATS

To date, CaryCitizen has had over 20,000 page views. We have hundreds of email subscribers and fans on Facebook.

We’ve been listed as an official news source by Google News.

We’ve published over 140 stories created by more than two dozen writers and photographers.

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

As CaryCitizen has evolved during our first 90 days, our focus has sharpened on our primary mission: celebrate Cary.

Our most popular stories are about outstanding and unique local businesses, the environment, high school sports, cultural events and people who make a difference. We love writing about local agriculture, music and stuff for kids. We’ve launched the first true calendar of events for the whole town.

KEEP IT NICE

CaryCitizen is committed to producing non-partisan news and stories about all the good things in Cary. We love getting comments to our posts and on our Facebook page. 99% of all comments get posted. But, occasionally, we feel we have to delete a comment.

Here’s the rule: no name calling or gratuitous insults. Simple. If you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, don’t post it on our wall.

We may be the seventh largest town in North Carolina, but this is still a place where we all shop in the same supermarkets and go to the same Friday night football games.

ADVERTISING

On November 1, we’ll be launching our official advertising program. We’ve had a lot of interest in advertising on CC, and the next three months promise some unique opportunities for getting in on the ground floor.

We’ve taken an innovative approach to advertising. We don’t feel intrusive pop-ups or spam emails are a benefit to our readers or our brand, so we won’t do them. Leaving money on the table, you say? Not at all.

We believe advertising IS part of the content of CaryCitizen, not just a sticker we paste over the headlines on the front page. Our readers respond to interesting ads and compelling offers by clicking through to the advertiser’s message. It happens every day.

Stay tuned for our big ad launch. If you’ve considered advertising on CaryCitizen, act fast because the inventory is limited and the introductory deal will be amazing. Sponsors make CaryCitizen possible. We are grateful for their support and committed to publishing a quality news product about our town.

BIG THANKS

As the editor, I’ve had a lot of late nights and a few tough decisions to navigate. I’ve loved it all. Let me take a moment to thank the Tribal Council, the inner crew that has helped launch, grow and guide CaryCitizen over the last three months:

  • Lindsey Chester – Associate Publisher
  • Matt Young – Managing Editor
  • Leslie Huffman – Associate Editor
  • Vickie Maxwell – Associate Editor
  • Brenda Larson – Business Operations Consultant

Thanks also to the dozens of people who have contributed stories, photos and ideas including Chris Adamczyk, Vanessa Mouton, Brent Miller, Michael Pelz-Sherman, Karl Fisher, Friends of Page Walker, Catherine Evangelista, Dwight Mouton, Winston Hooker, Lisa Rogers, Sydney Maxwell, Nancy Caggia, Phil and Angie Loudon, Cary Photographic Artists, Smythe Richbourg, Chris Young and Al Sibille.

Thanks also to Susan Moran and the Town of Cary staff for their cooperation in developing stories like Cary Bio Fuel Plan First in Nation.

Finally, the biggest thanks must go to you, the pioneer readers of CaryCitizen. Thank you for giving us a shot, thanks for telling your friends, and thank you for all your comments and emails. They truly do help us shape our coverage.