Monday I attempted to contact council members to hear of any questions or concerns they might have about Thursday’s regular meeting agenda. Some council members expressed concerns about the proposed rezoning 21-REZ-16 on Old Apex Road. Comments were also made on the rezoning 21-REZ-08 of The Terraces at West Cary.
Later Monday I met with Mayor Pro-Tem Frantz and staff to go over the agenda. We believed there would be many attendees for the 21-REZ-16 rezoning. We also discussed the naming of White Oak Park for outgoing council member Yerha.
Town Manager One-On-One
After the Agenda meeting, I met with the town manager briefly to go over a few items including the Connected Vehicle Technology Project. We also talked about a partnership between a developer and the town to create a new parking deck next to the Rogers which is currently under construction. Of course, this would have to be approved by the council before it becomes reality.
Raleigh-Cary Attractive to Millennials
The Triangle Business Journal reported Monday that “In the report from CommercialCafe, The Raleigh metro is the 8th most attractive MSA for millennials across the U.S. Even though inflation has all but wiped-out employers’ efforts to hike wages in order to attract and retain employees in various industries across the U.S., the Raleigh-Cary metro has fared well overall in wage increases, a new analysis show. In fact, the metro ranked No. 2 in fastest wage increases among major U.S. metros in a new report from financial research firm Smartest Dollar.”
Tuesday I joined several staff members in our second dance practice for Diwali. While most of the staff members involved are very talented, I continue to struggle and be the weakest link.
Tuesday night Carissa Johnson was elected to the Cary Town Council by defeating former council member Ken George. She will take the At-Large seat currently held by Ed Yerha. Carissa has experience serving on the town’s Information Services Advisory Board. According to her website she “a full-time marketer, with over a decade of experience in IT, technology, and Healthcare – with a special focus on Behavioral and Mental Health.” I look forward to getting to know her more and working with her. Congratulations Carissa!
Jack Smith also won re-election in his runoff with Renee Miller. Jack has served Cary since 1989. His experience and knowledge are invaluable. We are blessed to have him serve Cary for so long. Thanks Jack and Congratulations!
I think it is important to also acknowledge those who did not win on Tuesday. Ken and Renee ran strong, clean campaigns. I, for one, appreciate that. Their willingness to put the time and effort into a campaign so that they can serve others is admirable. Thank you, Ken and Renee!
Cary elections were held this year because of covid. The 2021 census was delayed resulting in the delay of required municipal redistricting. Cary redistricted last year based on population estimates calculated from utility bills. This was done so that we could hold elections as planned. However, the North Carolina General Assembly decided that Cary and other municipalities should have their elections in the spring of 2022 instead of the fall of 2021 with runoffs in the summer of 2022. As a result, we only had 5.9% turnout for this runoff election. We can only hope the General Assembly will not meddle in future local elections.
We should be back on that schedule next year with elections in the fall. Cary elections are normally held in October of odd years. If a candidate does not get 50% + 1 votes, then there is a runoff in November. Races next year include the Mayor, At-Large, District B, and District D.
Marine Corps Performance
Wednesday I was notified by Mayor Day from Knightdale that the Marine Corps Drum and Bugle Corps and Silent Drill Platoon will be performing at Cary High School on Monday, August 1st at 11:30. This is an exclusive performance for North Carolina students. If you would like to attend, make sure to arrive by 11:00.
Triangle Business Journal
Wednesday afternoon I was interviewed by a Triangle Business Journal reporter who was interested in Cary’s future and economic development. According to the reporter, Cary was the first of several municipalities they plan to write about.
Thursday the council held its last regularly scheduled meeting of July. The meeting included two special recognitions, nine consent items, five public hearings, and two discussion items.
Kenneth Caudle Recognition
The first special recognition was the retirement of small business liaison Kenneth Caudle after 35 years of service to the town. Kenneth started with the town in 1987 as a Firefighter. He was then promoted to Fire Inspector and eventually Fire Marshall. Kenneth’s talent for building relationships was acknowledged in 2018 when he was promoted to the town’s first small business liaison. Cary’s economic development has benefited greatly from Kenneth’s work. While he will be sorely missed, we wish him the best in his retirement. Congratulations Kenneth!
Karen Mills Recognition
Our second special recognition was the retirement of the town’s Chief Financial Officer, Karen Mills. Karen has served the town since 1991. As part of her legacy, Karen built and cultivated a strong financial foundation from a growing community of 46,000 to the 180,000 citizens today. Year after year Cary received the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada Distinguished Budget Award, which is the only national awards program recognizing the highest quality of governmental budgeting. Her guidance also allowed to acquire the highest rating from all major bond rating agencies, AAA, which saves the town millions of dollars every year. Over the years she has implemented several innovative ideas such as Aquastar. I have had the pleasure to work with Karen since I became involved in town government in 1997. She has always been a smiling face with a warm heart. We will miss her at town hall but hope to see her around and about Cary. We are so happy for her retirement and wish her the very best. Congratulations Karen!
Old Apex Rezoning Public Hearing
Out of the five public hearings the Old Apex Rezoning proposal, 21-REZ-16, was the most controversial and had several speakers. This rezoning proposal calls for 250 apartments next to large lot single family residential. All speakers, excluding the applicant representatives, spoke in opposition. Each council member cited concerns about density and transition, among other concerns. The proposal is now scheduled for review by the Planning and Zoning Board.
Terraces at West Cary
Under discussion, a once controversial rezoning proposal, the Terraces at West Cary 21-REZ-08, was now supported by the adjacent residents with a petition. Council voted unanimously in favor of this rezoning.
Ed Yerha Park
The final action of the meeting was the renaming of White Oak Park to Ed Yerha Park which was, of course, unanimously approved. Ed will be leaving council in August. He served 10 years as an At-Large representative, and 14 years on town boards and commissions before that. The town bio perfectly describes Ed:
“Ed has been an advocate for Cary’s environmental initiatives and a strong supporter of the Town’s sports and cultural arts venues and programs. He’s a guiding voice in the preservation of Cary’s history and hometown values while making decisions that allow future generations to enjoy the marvelous quality of life that Cary has to offer.”
I am so grateful for all the years of service Ed has given our community and we are all so much better off because of him. Congratulations Ed! Well deserved.
The council meeting concluded after a little over 2 ½ hours.
Town Manager’s Report
The town manager’s report for this week includes the following:
Our legislative team has put together an interesting and helpful list of items from the General Assembly’s recent session. This document focuses on those items that could potentially affect Cary. Other highlights from a memorable week follow. Please enjoy and have a great weekend!
New School Resource Officer Vehicle Design
On July 28, the police department unveiled its latest school resource officer (SRO) vehicle design. In a staff-initiated project, officers created specific SRO vehicle graphic designs for their respective schools’ mascot and colors. These designs strengthen our bond with students and faculty and show off our school spirit! Be on the lookout for our other school vehicle graphics soon.
MWBE & DEI Attend Chamber Diversity Conference
Did you know closing the racial equality gap would generate $8 Trillion in US GDP growth? Attendees of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity (DEI) Conference presented by Triangle DEI Alliance and the Raleigh Chamber, gained this knowledge and much more as they were immersed in interactive workshops designed to provide strategies to support diversity work in ones organization. Procurement and Contracts Manager Denisha Harris and DEI Specialist Stephanie Reed represented Cary at this annual event.
Downtown Cary Park Fence Lift
As we begin our final year of construction for the Downtown Park, we’ve spruced up the original safety fencing and wrap, which had grown tired and no longer appropriately represented the WOW of this important economic development project. Enjoy!
Firefighters Respond to Food Needs
In honor of September 11 and appreciation for first responders, citizen volunteers have built gardens at Fire Stations #1-8. Recently, these station gardens have been revived and given a fresh purpose. In addition to the firefighters growing fruits and vegetables for their own meals, they are now sharing their bounty with the community through Dorcas. This week, Fire Station #5 provided 15 pounds of tomatoes and eggplant.
Park Renovation Updates
With the exception of a few punch list items still to come, renovations to Annie Jones, Walnut Street, and Dunham parks are complete. Upgrades include six renovated post-tension concrete tennis courts and a new restroom at Annie Jones Park, two new pickleball courts and one basketball court at Walnut Street Park, and court renovations at Dunham Park.
Election Night Photos
Hybrid Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources Advisory Board
Hybrid Information Services Advisory Board
Monday, Aug. 1
Zoning Board of Adjustment
Human Relations, Inclusion, & Diversity Task Force
Tuesday, Aug. 2
Senior Advisory Board
Wed, Aug. 3
- A complaint about mental health issues.
- Several complaints about the proposed Old Apex Road rezoning.
- A thank you to staff for quickly addressing overhanging limbs over signs warning of crosswalks.
- A notification of the town’s #3 safest community in America (HomeSnacks in April)
Next week’s activities include staff meetings, a charity golf event, a tour of the YMCA We Build People Camp, a meeting with visitors for the World University Games, a meeting with a solar technology representative, and Diwali dance practice.
Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, August 7th. 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.