Cary, NC — This week the staff and council held its first quarterly meeting of the year.
Monday I met with the town manager to go over items to be discussed at the quarterly meeting. Those topics included branding, an environmental update, an update on capital projects, park projects, and sidewalk projects. We also talked about the upcoming DEI committee appointments which I will make in a few weeks. Our meeting lasted about fifteen minutes.
Recording the 2022 State of Cary Video
Tuesday I recorded the voice-over parts for the video version of the State of Cary address at Digital P studios. This video should be available for viewing at the end of the month. These recordings took about thirty minutes.
Afterward, I went to the council chambers to record an opening and a closing for the State of Cary video that was taped when I presented to the Cary Chamber of Commerce members in late January. The tapings of the opening and closing took about twenty minutes. FYI, the State of Cary address that I presented at the Cary Chamber can be seen here on YouTube.
The quarterly report (October – December) came out on Thursday and can be found here.
A Recap of the Council’s Quarterly Meeting
Thursday the council held its first quarterly meeting of the year. Our next quarterly meeting will be in May. Here are some of the notes I took from the slides at the meeting:
- Property Tax (over half of revenue) on track
- Permits and Fees up 27%
- Parks 100% over last year and almost to pre-Covid levels
- Sales Tax revenue up
- Inflation expected to have impacts this fiscal year
- Cary has $3 billion of town owned property
- There is $34 billion in taxable property excluding vehicles and non-taxable properties such as churches
- Alyssa Campo Bowman was hired as an environmental manager for Regenerative Agriculture and Sustainable Community Practices
- Our environmental initiatives are integrated into all sustainable practices such as stormwater, public works, facilities, utilities, fleet, and transit
- Emission Reduction Plans: Completion of SEAP (Strategic Energy Action Plan) and CAP (Climate Action Plan)
- Other Plans: Solid Waste Master Plan, Urban Forestry Master Plan, Open Space Plan, and Communications Plan
- Energy actions: Solar – bus shelters, stormwater sensors, and USA Baseball, New Energy Monitoring Program, Solar Master Services
- Solar Installation increased 53% in 2021, there will be a webpage for tracking
- Cary is in negotiations to purchase the solar farm at the South Cary plant
- Transportation: GoCary ridership at pre-Covid levels, adding a Morrisville Smart Shuttle. Soon an Apex Smart Shuttle will be added. Electric will be considered our first option moving forward.
- Pilot program in the works with NCSU for Cool Streets – an application that not only preserves streets but keeps them cooler reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
- Two Teslas are currently used by Police, expect eight more this year. These vehicles not only perform better but will save the town $4000 over the life of the vehicle.
- Idle reduction technology is being added to Fire Trucks.
- We will sponsor a Tree Talk Series.
- There will be changes to the LDO to focus on native species, and planting seasons.
- We will be creating tree planting webpage.
- Several employees in public works are being certified as arborists.
- We are creating a tree orchard and pollinator garden and continuing with My Tree Our Tree program.
- We have purchased 200 acres in Chatham County. There will be programs to restore natural lands such as in Walnut Creek.
- We are partnering with Triangle Land Conservancy on Watershed protection.
- We received a grant to preserve 300 acres of wetlands on the White Oak Creek Greenway.
- We will provide help to create residential rain gardens.
- Soil cells are now being used, such as the sidewalk area in front of the Rogers, which allows trees to grow healthy in urban environment and allows better stormwater control.
- We are partnering with NCSU on recycling. We received an AI award.
- We are part of TJCOG regional solid waste consortium.
- We are creating a food and waste webpage working with education and outreach toward zero waste.
- Food waste recycling center is now open on Dixon Drive.
- Construction costs continue to trend up.
- Material lead times are longer than normal.
- Supply chains continue to be disrupted.
- We currently have 500 active town projects worth about $1 billion. This takes 70 project managers from 10 departments.
- There are 160 town projects under construction worth about $415 million.
- Most of the non-utility projects are transportation and parks.
- Projects from the 2019 bonds include 11 park projects worth $82.6 million and 11 transportation projects worth $60 million.
- Active Park projects include downtown Cary Park, Carpenter Fire Station and McCrimmon neighborhood parks, Penny Road school park, Court renovations, playground renovations, and open space acquisitions
- Active Transportation projects include the Cary Parkway Sidewalk, the Louis Stephens Sidewalk, street improvements, intersection improvements, and NCDOT Enhancements.
- Future Park projects (from the Bond sale) include historic preservation, South Cary greenways, Cary Action Park improvements, Veterans Freedom Park enhancements, Tryon Road Park, and Walnut Creek greenway.
- Future Transportation projects (from the Bond sale) include the Green Level Church Road widening, the O’Kelly Chapel Road widening, NC55 Pedestrian Grade Separation study, the downtown parking development, and the Fenton infrastructure.
- There will be a Kildaire Farm Road Water line replacement project that will begin this quarter which will go from Maynard to McEnroe Court. During construction two lanes will remain open.
- The McCrimmon Parkway Park, starting construction this spring, will have a hammock sculpture, a playground, a natural play area, pickleball courts, a community garden, a shelter, and tennis courts.
- The Carpenter Fire Station Road Park, starting construction this spring, will have a skate park, a multipurpose court, a playground, an area for adult fitness, ball fields, a dog park, and a shelter.
- Council decided on a logo which will have various adaptations depending on how it is used.
- “Live Inspired” will be the tag line.
- We realize that logos, like art, are in the eye of the beholder. As a result, there will be many people that like the logo and many people that don’t like the logo.
- There were 21 cases seeking rezonings in Q2 (October – December) rezoning with 5 being approved.
- Q2 approvals included a 10,000 square foot grocery store, 55 detached dwellings, 32 dwellings with a minimum of 3 detached, 160 dwellings with a maximum of 15 detached, and a habitat and flood mitigation.
- Q2 rezonings are up 9% close to 5-year average.
- Q2 development plans are down 21% from the 5-year average.
- Q2 building permits are up 2% from the 5-year average.
- Q2 had 15 rezoning pre-application conferences with only 6 rezoning applications submitted.
- The Fenton is scheduled to open late spring with 556,525 square feet of retail and office and 357 multi-family units.
- South Hills Redevelopment plans will soon be submitted.
- South Hills may include Sportsplex center.
The quarterly meeting lasted a little over four hours.
Dancing at Diwali
Friday I participated in a virtual meeting with Hum Sub board members, council member Bush, Parks Director McRainey, and Cultural Arts Director Lewis to talk about Cary officials participating in dancing at Diwali.
Bush, McRainey, and I will dance and will try and recruit other Cary officials. There will also be dance teams of officials from Morrisville and Apex.
Emails from citizens this week included:
- A question about sidewalks off Chapel Hill Road
- A question about community/neighborhood meetings
- Requests to support a town-sponsored rezoning for affordable housing
- A request to speak to Triple F group
Next week’s activities include staff meetings, a meeting of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Executive Board, a meeting about a future Chamber intercity visit, a meeting with the Homebuilders Association, and a meeting who is trying to meet with all 532 NC mayors.
Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, February 20th. 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 email@example.com.