Duke Health Meeting
Monday I met virtually with Dr. Monte Brown, MD, of Duke Health. He has served as the Vice President of Administration and Secretary for Duke University Health System and Associate Dean of Veterans Affairs for the Duke University School of Medicine since 2006. Our conversation was mostly about the future expansion and creation of a hospital with 100 beds at Green Level West and I540. I agreed to meet with him and adjacent property owners on site to see the property and hear of their combined visions.
Town Manager One-On-One
Later Monday I met with the town manager for our weekly one-on-one. Topics included the Singh proposal on Old Apex Road, the Duke Hospital expansion on Green Level West Road, the Fenton, South Hills negotiations, sports venue interests, the next council/staff retreat (likely in February or March), the new council member, and the Mayor Pro-Tem position.
Wake County Mayors Association Meeting
Monday night the mayors of Wake County held their monthly meeting in Cary. Attending were mayors from Cary, Fuquay Varina, Garner, Holly Springs, Morrisville, Rolesville, and Zebulon. We discussed a variety of topics including growth and development proposals in each of our municipalities.
CAMPO Executive Board
Wednesday I participated in a meeting of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) Executive Board. The agenda included 5 consent items, 1 public hearing, and 5 discussion items. In one of the discussion items Cary was unanimously selected as the lead planning agency for the board. In the discussion I made the point that Cary as host agency would allow the most flexibility with positions and salaries for the CAMPO Staff. This is significant since talented, skilled staff is difficult to find. Currently the CAMPO staff is one of the most talented in the state and recent studies have shown their salaries are among the lowest in the state.
The Executive Board also heard updates on the Greater Triangle Commuter Rail and the Transportation Improvement Program. We can expect all projects to lag due to lack of funding.
The CAMPO meeting concluded after a little over two hours.
North Carolina Metro Mayors
Friday I participated in a meeting of the North Carolina Metro Mayors. Here is a summary of that meeting from the Executive Director:
Over the past two weeks, President Biden has signed the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 and the Inflation Reduction Act into law.
CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 contains a $40B+ investment in American semiconductor manufacturing. This opens the door for North Carolina to land a major manufacturing facility. The White House’s full announcement can be found here.
Inflation Reduction Actsends more federal dollars to states to be used for the electrification of transportation in cities. This is a great opportunity for cities to be involved in developing electric infrastructure. The bill allows for the federal government to negotiate prescription drug costs and pays down hundreds of billions in deficit. The White House’s full announcement can be found here.
General Assembly Update – Nothing New to Report
The North Carolina General Assembly has been very quiet as legislators are out of town.
- Governor Cooper’s State of Emergency was lifted this week
- NEew Mayor Sworn-in for New Bern – Jeffrey Odham – welcome to Mayor Odham!
- Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughn (immediate past Chair of Metro Mayors) was appointed to the North Carolina Local Government Employees’ Retirement System Board of Trustees by Governor Cooper.
FOCUS – SPECIAL GUEST
Christopher Chung,CEO of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC)
- In 2014, EDPNC was created by the NC General Assembly and contracted by the NC Department of Commerce to be responsible for five main areas of economic development in the State.
- Business recruitment
- Existing industry support
- Small business support
- International trade
- Travel & tourism
Current Landscape in NC
- Despite the pandemic, the State has been successful for business recruitment and business expansion.
- There have been more than 400 expansions and recruitments in NC (280 in Tier 1 and Tier 2 counties) with more than 60K new job announcements.
Top Factors (generally speaking) that Matter to Companies
- Labor costs
- Availability of skilled labor
- Energy availability and costs
- Inbound/outbound shipping costs
- Highway accessibility
Behind the Scenes of a Business Recruitment Deal
- The state is usually the first contact in a recruitment
- The state would assist with permits, incentives, and certain workforce development needs.
- For an expansion project of an existing employer, it typically starts with a local economic development group. (The State is then a part of the process for things like permits).
- Key Factors
- The aggregated top five are listed above – the factors will vary based on the specific needs of the company
- Usually communicate with a third-party project planner (anonymous legal/negotiation representation) often don’t know the specific company interested (codename often used).
- Work closely with the Governor’s office, Department of Commerce, Legislature, and county and municipal economic development partners.
Recent Trends in Activity
- Since June of 2020, there has been a tremendous amount of activity and the size of projects NC is competing for are much larger post pandemic than previously. Previously, there may have been 2 or 3 projects of $1B or more compared to now, with more than 18 projects that plan to spend $1B. (Some as high as $5B to $10B) considering NC.
- Pre-pandemic, the split was roughly 70 percent industrial projects (manufacturing, data centers, etc.) versus 30 percent office projects. Now the State is seeing 90-95 percent industrial projects.
- The manufacturing space, specifically in electric vehicles and adjacent industries such as battery assembly and battery components is particularly big right now. The State also expects to see more projects in the semiconductor space, especially after the signing of the CHIPS Act.
- Companies are interested in diversity and sustainability, in particular environment, social, and governance (ESG) issues.
- North Carolina’s strong “exiting military” population and HBCU presence are factors for the state’s advantage in diversity.
- Many companies are asking that power sources be generated as cleanly or renewably as possible. This puts utility partners in a position to answer how to deliver power in a more renewable fashion.
- Social – reproductive rights may start to play a role in recruitment and decision-making.
- Labor availability – currently facing a tough labor market
- Product availability – Many are seeking large industrial zoned sites with road/water/sewer/gas/telecom. There are not enough in mega-sites in NC (500 acres or more)
- Supply chain – well documented national/international problem
- Future of Office Work – Post-pandemic, some companies are no longer needing physical presence in the workplace as traditionally needed.
The meeting concluded a little over 30 minutes.
Indian Independence Day
Sunday I joined elected officials from around the county and state in celebrating Indian Independence Day at the Morrisville HSNC Temple. This year marked the 76th year of independence for India. The event started with a small parade of flags and chants in Hindi of “Long live the Motherland”. This was followed by a flag unveiling ceremony for the US, North Carolina, and Indian flags. I joined the mayor from Morrisville and a councilwoman from Apex in the unveiling of the North Carolina flag. The ceremonies continued in the fellowship hall followed by lunch. I have been to this ceremony every year since I have been mayor. It is a great time to celebrate the diversity of our region and the culture of India.
Town Manager’s Report
The Town Manager’s report for this week included:
I want to dedicate my message this week to Ed and his 25+ years of service to the Cary community, not only as a council member but also as a citizen volunteer on various boards and commissions.
One of many things that Ed and I have in common is believing that great communities stay great by discovering, learning from, and building upon their histories.
I have personally benefited from Ed’s wisdom, humor, and avocational knowledge on countless topics. He and Carolyn have been tireless supporters of mine and staff, and I’m forever grateful to Ed for being one of the Council members who decided to bring me to Cary.
One story in this week’s report that I want to call your attention to is the CAMPO announcement. When the council hired me, a primary area of work you first charged me with was and remains improving relationships and growing our influence in the region. From transit and traffic signal partnerships to working to expand 311 and now CAMPO, Cary’s value to our neighbors is continuing to grow, and we continue to look for more opportunities to enhance our individual and collective public value
There will be lots of public value on display next week as we gather for our only regular meeting in August and the special reception that precedes it, along with, of course, Lazy Daze.
Rest up this weekend.
ClickHERE to watch the latest video on the Downtown Park progress!
Cary has been selected to act as the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s (CAMPO) lead planning agency or LPA effective January 1, 2023. The Executive Board unanimously approved the move this week. The decision-making body of the CAMPO is comprised of elected officials from 20+ local jurisdictions, as well as stakeholders from other transportation agencies and Mayor Weinbrecht is Cary’s representative on the Executive Board. CAMPO is also relocating its offices to Fenton in Cary. For more information on CAMPO and the role it plays in our region’s transportation network go to www.campo-nc.us.
Federal Funding for GoCary Transit Facility
Federal Transit Administration announced that Cary will receive over $11.7 million to support the construction of a new GoCary Bus Operations and Maintenance Facility. The new facility will accommodate GoCary administration, operations and maintenance functions, and allow us to plan for a future of alternative fueling and energy sources. Our application for the Buses and Bus Facilities grant program was one of 50 selected from 282 eligible submissions. This award supports a transit infrastructure that will provide better access to jobs, school, and healthcare, while creating jobs and improving air quality.
2022 Herman Drake Award
Anthony “Larry” Alexander received the 2022 Herman Drake award at the American Public Works Association (APWA) NC Solid Waste Division chapter conference. The annual award recognizes non-supervisory solid waste employees who exhibit outstanding service and dedication. Cary is fortunate to have Larry serve the community and be a committed team member for more than 31 years. Congratulations, Larry!
ICS 300 Course
Staff from across many departments came together this week for a three-day ICS 300 course. This National Incident Management System training program course is designed for personnel who may be involved in planning large, complex incidents or events, either local or regional. The course was taught by emergency management experts Leslie O’Connor and Darshan Patel. O’Connor, global crisis manager for LabCorp, is a former Cary firefighter.
UNC School of Government Course
For the second year, the UNC School of Government collaborated with the North Carolina Network Consortium Minority/Women-owned Business Enterprises Coordinators’ Network, to host Minority Participation Programs and Public Contracting, a course designed to teach business inclusion best practices to public and private sector professionals. During this 2-day course Purchasing and Contracts Manager, Denisha Harris, President of the Network, represented Cary by teaching a section entitled Education, Outreach, and Capacity Building.
Fall Sports League Begins
Cary citizens of all ages are back in action as Fall sports leagues have commenced. Over 700 adult softball and nearly 300 adult volleyball players launched their fall seasons earlier this month. Senior softball leagues are also underway with 230 participants in our 50 & Over and 60 & Over divisions. Over 800 children ages 9 to 18 are set to begin their baseball and softball seasons in early September.
Planning and Zoning Board
Cultural Arts Committee
- A complaint about tall grass on Dundalk Way.
- A complaint about a reservation issue at the Cary Tennis Park
- A complaint about the RDU Rental Car Facility and RDU Park Economy Expansion Project
- A complaint about a permitting issue in Macgregor Downs
Next week’s activities include staff meetings, council member meetings, a trip to Chicago, council pictures, a reception for incoming and outgoing council members, and the last regularly scheduled council meeting of August.
Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, August 28th. 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.