Cary, NC – This week was busy like previous weeks.
Monday – SAS Championships
Monday I provided welcoming remarks for the SAS Championships media day. In my remarks I talked about the tournament’s economic impact on the community and the opportunities it provided to our citizens to see the legends of golf.
Later Monday I joined the manager, chamber president, and a council member in the SAS Championships media day golf outing.
Tuesday – Medical Check-up
Tuesday was a personal day as I set aside time to do a stress test which was part of my physical exam from this past summer. In case you are wondering everything is fine. The doctors were puzzled how my heart rate has been getting slower over the years. My one to two hours of cardio a day for the last several years definitely brings the heart rate down.
Wednesday – Walk to School Day
Wednesday I had the joy and pleasure of meeting about 100 to 200 parents and teachers from Green Hope Elementary in the Walk to School Day event. In my remarks I talked about the importance of physical fitness in our every day lives. Senator Nickle was also present and talked about safety.
Wednesday evening I interviewed with a student from NC State about my job as a mayor. We talked for about thirty minutes. I had sent brief answers to her questions prior to our meeting.
My last event was the campaign kickoff for NC Court of Appeals Judge Reuben Young. What a very intellectual man. I am glad he is representing us in the court systems. Judge races are extremely important since they interpret the laws made by the legislature. And those laws have a direct impact on what we can and cannot do at a local level.
Thursday – Cary Chamber Appreciation Event
Thursday started with a meeting at the Homebuilders headquarters in Raleigh. It was a brief meeting.
Thursday evening I attended the Cary Chamber member appreciation event. I spoke briefly about the bond referendum and how it was extremely important for the citizens and businesses if we are to continue to be an exceptional community.
Friday – General Assembly Update
Friday was another personal day as I visited an orthopedic surgeon about my knee. I guess being a fitness fanatic has its costs. I will be having surgery soon to repair a torn meniscus.
Friday the North Carolina Metro mayors met for a legislative update. Here is the Executive Director’s summary of that meeting:
Brief OPENING remarks – After taking a break last week, the General Assembly returned to work this week to a light schedule. The Senate plans to conclude their votes by October 31 but may come back for a special session in January. The legislature truly seems to be in “clean-up” mode now, trying to clear up broad, bi-partisan popular budget items while the Senate continues to look for a path to override and/or resolve the budget stalemate.
Legislative Schedule, Veto Override and Special “Mini Budgets”
- Senator Berger held press conference stating that Senate will finish work and adjourn by October 31.
- Speaker Moore has indicated the House should be able to finish their work by the end of the month as well, but unlike the Senate, he has not given a set deadline for adjournment.
- During his Press Conference Senator Berger seemed pretty confident in an override vote on the budget but does not know if they will be able to secure the required number of votes prior to October 31, mentioning a possible override in January instead. The Senate Majority needs one Democrat to vote in favor of the budget or two Democrats to be absent. It is worth noting that the Senate must announce a vote 24 hours prior to any vote being held.
- Several “mini budgets” were released this week; transportation; Raise the Age funds; and broadband grants.
- H100 DOT Mini Budget
- The bill was heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday and moved quickly and easily through the Senate and passed unanimously on the Senate floor the same day.
- This is the exact agency language from the conference report state budget that was vetoed. It did NOT include additional funding to cover DOT’s unexpected shortfalls (see related information on NC Chamber of Commerce effort).
- Three major items of interest to the Coalition were included:
- Full restoration of $8.5m of transit/SMAP funding.
- Powell Bill Increase for 2021 ($7.3M recurring for municipalities with populations of 200,000 or less).
- Funding for commercial service airports (an additional $43.7M recurring, bringing the grand total to $75M annually).
- Our Metro Mayors advocacy team has worked really hard on ensuring the transit funding was included.
- We expect the mini budget to move through the House (although there is a possibility of additional provisions for being added to fund unexpected shortfalls related to disaster recovery and legal related to the MAP Act).
- There has been no indication from the Governor’s Office that he has any problems with the DOT budget.
- NC Chamber cant-afford-to-stop – (Continues to build support for effort to restore DOT funds spent on disasters and judicial decision)
- The NC Chamber is making a big push to restore the $300M shortfall related to disasters and the $300M that has been spent to date on judicial settlements around the MAP Act. You can find a link to the recent N&O article here: N&O story
- This is a good opportunity for the Coalition and local government leaders to work with the state chamber to support these efforts and encourage the support of infrastructure in the state.
- We encourage you to talk with your MPO and find out about the projects that are being delayed.
- The Chamber is confident that there will be concrete proposals for this shortfall, but it is unclear what the details might be. The House may even add it to the DOT mini budget moving now, or it could be a topic for a possible January short session.
- H1001 Raise the Age Funding
- The House Appropriations Committee took up a “mini” budget dealing with funding for “Raise the Age.” Raise the Age legislation passed in the previous Session and shifts sixteen and seventeen-year old offenders to the state’s Juvenile Justice System instead of treating them as adults. The mini budget introduced this week provides additional funding to facilitate this transition over three years.
- The funding language was drawn directly from the previously passed budget, which was vetoed in June, but added two new provisions to fund 16 new assistant district attorneys and 97 juvenile court counselor positions.
- There was some disagreement over the new assistant district attorney positions and which counties were designated for. The distribution of the new resources was based on the current judicial resource formula, so it was generally acknowledged during debate that the formula itself would a discussion for another day. Metro Mayors cities and related counties should give strong consideration to engaging in that important resource discussion in the future.
- The mini budget for Raise the Age passed the House on Wednesday with a vote of 104-1. It has been sent to the Senate for consideration.
- Historic Preservation Tax Credit Extension
- Credits are set to expire at the end of this calendar year
- A stand-alone bill has passed in the House (H399) that includes some additional incentives, including a special credit for projects in federal disaster counties.
- There was also a separate provision in the vetoed budget for a simple and discrete extension of the credit for another five years.
- During Sen. Berger’s press conference this week, he mentioned the tax credit extension as a priority before the Senate leaves in October. We expect the Senate would only strongly favor a simple and discrete extension similar to what was in the vetoed budget bill.
- There are three likely paths for the tax credit extension to pass the legislature:
- Included as part of override of the budget bill
- Senate consideration of the House bill (stripped to only address the straight extension and sent back to the House for concurrence). This would likely be the path of least resistance.
- It could be included in a finance and tax provision “mini budget.” This would likely receive bi-partisan support but may get pushback and even a veto from Governor since it would be contained in a bill that would have other provisions the Governor opposes.
Local Revenues/ Local Control
Nothing new to report
Town Manager’s Report
The town manager’s report for this week included:
Our in-person education efforts end tomorrow with our 14th special event booth-sitting. Staff also gave 22 Speakers Bureau presentations in addition to my talks at the two community meetings and the Eye Opener kickoff. Cable and social media advertising will continue through Monday. Our outreach has so far led to over 12,690 unique visitors to carybonds.org and over 1,800 unique views of the bonds page at townofcary.org.
We’ve certainly left nothing to chance when it comes to our citizens understanding the choices before them. Staff members from throughout the organization have been focused, engaged, and intentional every step of the way. – even incorporating referendum information into a presentation for the Cary Newcomers Club. I couldn’t be more proud of them.
Elections results will be carried live on Cary TV 11.
Walk to School Day
Hundreds of students across Cary participated in the 23rd annual National Walk to School Day on October 2. One school representative noted it was their “largest event yet!” Mayor Harold Weinbrecht and Council Members Jennifer Robinson, Don Frantz and Lori Bush also participated in Walk to School Day events.
Cary partnered with Safe Routes to School and the 12 elementary schools that registered. The event serves as a great opportunity to recognize and bring awareness to the Town’s greenways and sidewalks and to ensure Cary remains a healthy, connected, walkable community.
Development Work Session
Following up on our discussion at the August Quarterly, we’ve scheduled a work session on Tuesday, October 22 to review the proposed Academy Park and Baptist Church projects. Developer representatives will be present. We will provide more information closer to the meeting.
Railroad Bridge Work Begins
Fred Smith Company completed earthwork operations to “rough grade stage” for the Carpenter Fire Station Road Bridge and Intersection Improvements (east of NC55) and has begun surveying to lay out the new railroad bridge east of NC 55 Highway. The new bridge will support the existing CSX railroad tracks that run parallel to NC 55 and will cross the new roadway underpass that connects Carpenter Fire Station Road at NC 55 with Morrisville-Carpenter Road. Foundation work for the new bridge is set to begin this fall. Fred Smith and Cary staff will be collaborating to begin the aesthetic bridge submittals and mock-ups which will set the final aesthetic appearance for the new bridge which will be located just east of NC 55 at Carpenter Fire Station Road. The project is 30% complete and is expected to be finished in summer 2022.
Annie Jones Greenway
In preparation for celebrating 40 Years of Greenways on November 2, projects are underway at Annie Jones Greenway that will require closing portions of the greenway. Beginning the week of October 7, a contractor will repave the asphalt trail at Tarbert Drive where the first greenway was originally constructed. Construction has also started on paving the currently unpaved trail from Annie Jones Park to McCloud Court. Stairs will be eliminated to provide more inclusive access. This work, part of the FY2020 budget for greenway resurfacing, will be completed this winter.
Coffee With a Cop
National Coffee with a Cop Day was a great success. Thanks to Caribou Coffee for hosting and thanks to Council and staff who came out and supported the event.
Wake Transit Vision Plan Update
It’s time to tune-up the Wake Transit Plan! The plan was first developed in advance of the 2016 sales tax referendum. A lot has changed since then, so it’s time to look at the major projects to make sure we are on track, both financially and conceptually. This is not a reconsideration of the recommended transit network, but rather an update to improve and build upon the goals set forth in the original plan. If you were part of the initial countywide planning effort, you are invited to participate in this update and can expect to receive an email soon with more details. If you were not part of the initial stakeholder group, but would like to participate in the update, please contact Kelly Blazey, Transit Administrator.
GoCary Service Changes
Highland Village residents thanked Town staff for their work on upcoming GoCary service changes. They wanted to make sure the Town knows how much they appreciate the time staff has taken to meet with them, listen to their concerns, and help them to remain independent with the use of GoCary.
The new traffic signal at Maynard Road and Olde Weatherstone Way is scheduled to be on flash next week and in full operation when pavement marking is completed. This intersection has also been made accessible with new ramps and a pedestrian crossing.
Water Quality Update
With recent news coverage of Middle Creek HS student athletes sickened after drinking water from a tank at a ball field, I thought it was a good opportunity to review Cary’s water quality monitoring and testing that occurs on a daily and weekly basis throughout our entire water service area — more than 1,000 miles of water pipes. Water sampling and testing is administered by staff who utilize a network of 126 sampling stations and our certified water testing laboratory at the Cary/Apex Water Treatment Facility. Staff constantly monitor conditions throughout our water system to optimize water quality. More than 50,000 water samples are tested annually. We have reviewed all testing data for this week and confirmed that our water met our consistent high quality throughout the entire service area.
After reviewing the latest updates on the Middle Creek HS story, it appears that the tank used for drinking water at the ball field was accessed by contractors, and chemicals apparently infiltrated the tank. Fortunately, it appears that the students have recovered.
Making a difference
A recent community event at Good Hope Farm combined environmental service with opioid education. After a local family lost their child to an overdose, they reached out with a desire to create an event in honor of their daughter who loved the outdoors. The result was truly an example of how caring and supportive our Cary community is. With the help of Outreach Coordinator Sarah Justice and Corporal John Maia, Senior Officer Scott Schulz and Officer Andre Lopez from PD, over 50 community members spent several hours volunteering in a wildlife habitat. After the work party, the group gathered for a heartfelt presentation from the family that requested the event. Police officers followed up with informative outreach about this dangerous epidemic that is claiming lives in our community. A highlight of the event included a thoughtful Q&A session between about 25 local teens and police officers about navigating crucial conversations with their peers about addiction.
I was pleased to have the opportunity to attend a luncheon honoring Women of Western Wake honorees including one of our own, Council Member Lori Bush. Lori served on an impressive honoree panel that included Ravila Gupta, Vicky Serany, Catherine Truitt and Shelley Westman. The panel was moderated by Deborah Holt Noel of UNC-TV. Congratulations to Lori for being honored as one Cary Magazine’s Women of Western Wake!
Sgt. Seth Everett and Chief Toni Dezomits went Over the Edge last Saturday, rappelling 30 stories off the Wells Fargo Capitol Center in downtown Raleigh to raise awareness for nearly 40,000 North Carolina Special Olympic athletes across the state. This effort, which raised over $2,000 for NC Special Olympics, was made possible through a partnership with Crosstown Pub and Grill.
Advisory Board Meetings
Mon, 10/7, 5:15pm
Town Hall Conf Room 11130
Mon, 10/7, 6pm
Town Hall Conf Room 10035
Mon, 10/7, 6:30pm
Town Hall Conf Room 21275
Mon, 10/9, 6:30pm
Town Hall Conf Room 10035
Emails from Citizens
Emails from citizens this week included:
- A complaint about Google Fiber installation (staff is working with the residents)
- A complaint about rezoning cases
- A complaint about pedestrian crossings in the Crossroads area (staff has responded, and we will continue to work to improve pedestrian safety)
- A complaint about umpires at a Cary park (staff has responded)
- A complaint that the council makes decisions to help developers (that couldn’t be further from the truth. Ask the developers)
- A complaint about property around the brickyard project (staff is working with the resident)
- A complaint about town spending money on VOTE YES signs for the bond (those signs were paid for and placed by the Cary Chamber of Commerce. It is unlawful for the town to advocate for or against a bond)
- A complaint about search for a Cary website resulting in some porn sites
Next week’s activities include meetings, a regularly scheduled council meeting, SAS Championship activities, Cary Council election day, a meeting of the North Carolina Metro Mayors, and the Diwali celebration.
Get In Touch
Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, October 13th. 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 and Hal Goodtree.