This week was a slow week. All activities and meetings, except one, were cancelled for various reasons.
Thursday I attended Cary’s Leadership dinner and joined several elected officials from all levels of government. This was the event where we thanked elected officials for helping us on issues throughout the year and where we strengthened our bond for future partnerships. Attending were council members, school board members, wake county commissioners, state representatives, state senators, state officials, congressional leaders, business leaders, and others. I was fortunate enough to dine and have conversations with NC Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, NC Representative Gale Adcock, and Cary Council member Jennifer Robinson. Since relationships with decision makers are the foundation for getting things done, the dinner provided a great opportunity for all in attendance. A big thank you to the Cary Chamber for sponsoring this event.
Town Manager’s Report
The Town Manager’s report for this week included:
It was great to see you all and other local leaders at last night’s Chamber Leadership Dinner, featuring remarks from Ernie Bovio, President at UNC Rex Hospitals. As always, the Chamber provided a fantastic opportunity for us all to connect and fun was had by all. Have a great weekend! Russ
OneCary Summer Movie Screening: “Thirteen Days”
This week, we provided Cary employees the opportunity to view “Thirteen Days,” which dramatizes the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 from the perspective of U.S. leadership. This film is a favorite of Sean’s, and it emphasizes many great leadership lessons that can be applied to Cary’s culture. These themes include outside-the-box thinking, how diversity and well-rounded debate can combat groupthink, and not letting momentum lead the way. We wrapped up with a recorded Q&A with Sean where he dived further into these themes and their relevance to our culture.
Lisa Glover NCAMA Achievement
In recognition of her reputation as an outstanding municipal attorney who is always willing to share her expertise with others, Lisa Glover was elected to a two-year term on the Board of Directors for the North Carolina Association of Municipal Attorneys (NCAMA). NCAMA exists to act as a liaison between municipal attorneys and other North Carolina municipal associations, and to keep its members informed of developments within the North Carolina municipal legal community.
602 West Chatham Street Mediation
State permitted remediation work began this week at the former Cary Mini Mart site located at 602 West Chatham Street. Work will include removing soil and the old canopy from the property and the property owner informed staff this work will take approximately one month to complete.
Electric Refuse Truck
This week Public Works staff are field testing an electric refuse truck chassis, while awaiting the delivery of our fully electric Mack LR-Electric late next year. This Mack LR-Electric is very similar to what we will receive, and this testing will help better understand the handling and operational differences of a fully electric refuse truck.
High Attendance in August Virtual Rezoning Meetings
On Wednesday, August 3, planning staff facilitated three virtual neighborhood meetings for new rezoning cases. The Kanoy property case (22-REZ-13) attracted over 100 residents from Chatham County. The applicant requests detached residential dwellings at a density of 1.8 du/acre on a 100-acre parcel. To learn more about the rezoning case click here.
Lunchtime Discovery Series
Representatives from North Carolina’s Division of Environmental Assistance and Customer Service and Toward Zero Waste joined Waste Strategy and Impact Consultant Srijana Guilford on the Lunchtime Discovery Series, a weekly livestream hosted by the NCDEQ Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs and the NC Museum of Natural Sciences. Together, they showed how Cary’s approach to pilot food waste recycling drop-off can be a model for other communities. Watch a recording of the presentation by clicking here.
Repair Café Revival
After a two-year hiatus, Cary welcomed back the Repair Café. Forty-four attendees brought in a total of 51 items for repair—from talking teddy bears to televisions—with a 65% success rate. Kudos to everyone who chose to keep these materials ticking and out of the landfill.
Cary Fire and Project PHOENIX Fun
The Cary Fire Department came out to one of our Project PHOENIX Communities to do a “directed cool down” training. It was an event that allowed members of the fire and police departments to build on relationships with the community they serve. A big thanks to the Engine 9 crew for bringing the fun to the Merriwood Apartment Community.
Performances At the Page
The summer sessions of Performances at the Page at the Page-Walker Arts & History Center wrapped up on August 5 with a performance by Jamrock. Approximately 400 people attended the concert on a balmy evening that included food by Ama’gee’s Jamaican Cuisine and Kona Ice.
Good Hope Farm Wraps Up Summer Produce Service
Good Hope Farm’s fourth annual Community Supported Agriculture (GHF CSA) program wrapped up another summer of produce distribution last week. Twenty-five families purchased eight weeks of produce that generated $6,080 of revenue for Cary farmers. An additional 685 pounds of their produce was donated through our partnership with Dorcas Ministries to families experiencing food insecurity. This amount nearly doubled the amount of food given in 2021—and does not include the recent food donations provided by the fire stations. A model of successful urban agriculture and generosity, an intern from Stanford University took a leadership role throughout the GHF CSA and looks forward to implementing lessons learned at Stanford’s teaching farm this fall.
Sending Our Interns Off with a Bang
Mary and Elizabeth McKay said goodbye to us today, but not before spending an afternoon at the firing range. Special thanks to Lt. Stephen Matthews and Cpl. John Maia for teaching safety and fundamentals to the first timers, who were accompanied by Finance Director Kim Branch, Transit Administrator Kelly Blazey, and Chief Strategy Officer Susan Moran.
A complaint about delays in acquiring a visa (this is not in our authority and would need to be handled by our congressional representative)
A complaint about grass over 1 foot tall on Dundalk Way.
A complaint about stormwater runoff from the Glenaire Development project.
A complaint about bulky trash not being picked up as scheduled.
Next week’s activities include staff meetings, a meeting with Duke Health, a Wake County Mayors Association meeting, Diwali Dance practice, a meeting of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Executive Board, and a meeting of the North Carolina Metro Mayors.
Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, August 21st. 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.
Monday I joined council member Jack Smith and former Cary Chamber President Howard Johnson in playing a charity golf event at MacGregor Downs. It was a good day to raise funds for helping schools and mingle with the great business leaders in Cary.
Crabtree Creek Greenway Update
Monday I received the following update from staff about pipes along the newly opened section of Crabtree Creek Greenway: “The black 24-inch pipe running along the Crabtree Creek Greenway is a temporary line that was installed to temporarily redirect sewer flows around the pipes and manholes being rehabilitated. You may have seen the large pumps located in the sewer easement near Evans Road. While the sewer lines were being upgraded, these pumps routed sewer flows through this temporary line to a downstream manhole near the Black Creek Greenway on the opposite side of the lake. There are still some final repairs needed to the underground sewer crossing beneath Lake Crabtree, which is why this temporary line is still in place. When this work is completed, over the next several weeks, the temporary pipe will be removed. The remaining work along the Crabtree Creek Greenway can be completed without closing the greenway, so we opted to open the greenway with the temporary line still in place, so that residents could enjoy the Crabtree Creek Greenway.”
Camp High Hopes Tour
Tuesday I toured the YMCA We Build People Camp at West Cary Middle School called Camp High Hopes. This is a summer day camp subsidized by donations to the YMCA’s Annual We Build People Campaign. Most of the campers are low-income families who could not afford a camp. Daily activities for campers include sports and swim lessons, literacy instruction, and character development. Breakfast and lunch are provided for the campers. The 200 campers are Pre-K through middle school. There is also a leadership program for some of the 9th and 10th graders. It is estimated that 60% of them come back to work as paid staff. This is such a valuable resource for these families and our community. If you would like to get involved, you can donate to the We Build People Campaign.
World University Games Visitors
Cary and the Triangle are among the final two locations to get the 2027 World University Games. Our competition is Chungcheong, South Korea. Tuesday I, along with several staff and chamber members, met with officials from International University Sports Federation (FISU) who are in Lausanne, Switzerland. They visited venues and had conversations with officials that would be hosting the event. I think they were impressed by our area. They will visit again in September before deciding in November.
Indy Weekly Interview
Thursday I met with a reporter from Independent Weekly to talk about the current and future Cary Tennis Park. We talked about the recent changes with lighting and seating. I also explained the clubhouse rebuild which will not only serve to hold professional tennis tournaments but will have spaces for daily community use. The new clubhouse is also being designed to hold the North Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame. I also talked about our long-term vision of expanding to the south with multiple tennis surfaces such as grass and red clay.
I explained how tennis continues to grow not only in Cary but across the nation. Some say pickleball is growing more than tennis and that we should replace some of our tennis courts with pickleball courts. I think that would be an unwise decision. According to the latest industry survey, the growth of new tennis players in the last two years is not only greater than the growth of all other racket sports combined, but new players outnumber the total number of people playing pickleball nationwide.
That being said, our goal is to provide excellence in all recreational facilities that our residents demand. The Cary Tennis Park is an example of this and in 2019 was given the USTA’s Highest Facility Honor by being named the 2019 Featured Facility. Our vision is to keep the Cary Tennis Park as the best of the best.
Thursday I lunch with a local business leader. It is crucial to build relationships with decision makers and business leaders if we are to be a successful community. While I don’t usually write about these meetings, I thought it was important to point out that they are part of the day-to-day job and how important they are.
North Carolina Metro Mayors
The North Carolina Metro Mayors met on Friday. Here is a summary from the Executive Director:
ARP – Affordable Housing: US Treasury made a significant CHANGE to guidance for the use of American Rescue Plan (ARP) State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLRF) – allowing our city ARP funds to be used for affordable housing loans (including those loans that qualify for Tax Credits):
If you use the ARP funding for Affordable Housing, please have your staff share that information with Beau and the League. We are tracking this information in order to share it with media and our federal partners.
Two members of our NC Congressional delegation, Rep. Alma Adams (D) and Rep. David Rouzer (R), led the charge to allow ARP funding to be used for affordable housing loans. Their efforts as primary sponsors of the “Lifeline Act” played a significant role in pushing the US Treasury department to change their regulations. PLEASE share our appreciation for this with both of these Members of Congress.
CHIPS Act – $52b bill with tasty morsels for NC? Research funding and manufacturing – NC is well positioned to benefit.
The CHIPS Act passed last week – an incentive program that includes grants and tax incentives for microchip manufacturing in the US. It also includes a major infusion of funding for research to the National Science Foundation and DOE, which stands to benefit our state since our public and private universities are highly successful in winning competitive federal research grants (NC universities brought in over $2.5 billion in research funds last year).
Additionally, the NC General Assembly’s recently passed budget set-aside over $100m to help attract a new manufacturing facility, widely thought to serve as matching funds to help NC compete for a microchip facility and federal CHIPS funds for a new plant that would employ at least 1,800 people.
Senator Tillis (R) was an important partner in bringing this bipartisan legislation across the finish line in the Senate, where it had earlier stalled.
Inflation Reduction Act – BBB light with Manchin & Biden support (includes taxes/deficit reduction and investments in energy/climate) moved closer to a vote as a reconciliation bill (only requires 50 votes in the Senate) – hurdles remain
The Inflation Reduction Act has three main features: reduce prescription drug costs by letting the federal government negotiate prices; raise federal revenue and reduce deficit growth through with tax reform; and provide funds for energy/climate change issues. Pending a review by the Senate Parliamentarian (who determines whether it meets the Senate’s complex budget reconciliation rules to avoid the cloture/filibuster 60 vote requirement), a vote is expected tomorrow (Saturday) in the US Senate.
No action – no votes anticipated, but we do expect to see a deal regarding Medicaid expansion before the end of the year.
Town Manager’s Report
The Town Manager’s report for this week included:
It’s great to be back in Cary after three weeks away at Harvard Kennedy School. Boston and Cambridge were nice but there’s just no place like Cary. After discussing different perspectives, viewpoints, and case studies in class, I couldn’t be prouder of the work we are doing in Cary while working alongside our great staff and elected officials. I hope you enjoy this week’s report. Have a great weekend! Russ
Triangle Math and Science Academy, 312 Gregson Drive: The certificate of compliance was issued for the installation of one electric vehicle charging station and a building permit has been approved for the school to add a pole mounted solar array.
Cary Towne Center Mall Partial Demolition, 1105 Walnut Street: The certificate of compliance was issued for the demolition of the former mall structure and construction of a new exterior wall on the remaining former Belk building.
Town Council approved two rezoning applications in July, including:
Chapel Hill Road Rezoning (21-REZ-14), 9518 and 9520 Chapel Hill Road: Request to rezone two parcels from R-40 to TR-CU limiting the use to a maximum 32 townhouses and neighborhood recreation with a minimum of 3,700 square feet.
The Terraces at West Cary (21-REZ-08), 3753, 3761 and 0 NC Highway 55: Request to rezone the property for a maximum of 55 townhouses and neighborhood recreation.
Town Hall Generator Mural
Mural installer, RAD Graphics, has been working to complete the digitally produced mural that was created by artist Rhett Hissam. The artwork creates an illusion of a field of native flowers on the north side of the generator that faces the Herbert C. Young Community Center parking lot.
Cary’s Reedy Creek Road Improvements Project was celebrated in the July 2022 edition of the ITE Journal. The ITE Journal is published monthly by the Institute of Transportation Engineers to share knowledge, practices, and skills to serve the needs of communities and help shape the future of transportation.
August ZBOA Meeting
The Cary Zoning Board unanimously approved the Park Overlook Project. This project proposes a new non-residential center, featuring office and warehouse uses on 14.51 acres of property at 11724 Green Level Church Road between Green Level Church Road and NC Highway 55. The proposed development will include two buildings totaling approximately 163,000 square feet.
Chamber’s Business of Women Luncheon
On July 28, a delegation of the police department’s female leaders attended the Cary Chamber of Commerce’s Business of Women Luncheon Series: Frontline Leadership Lessons at the Prestonwood Country Club.
On August 1, staff completed its submittal to NCDOT for the Powell Bill Program. The budgeted Powell Bill revenue for FY2023 is $3,365,779. We anticipate receiving the 1st payment in September 2022.
A complaint about an exposed sewer pipe along Crabtree Creek Greenway (pipe is temporary)
A complaint about a proposed rezoning on Carpenter Fire Station near Highcroft (council has not seen this proposal since this was a neighborhood meeting)
A request to help with awareness and education for Ovarian Cancer month which is in October
A request for contact information to Tim Sweeney of Epic Games (I don’t have that information)
A thank you to staff for helping with a proposed rezoning
A request for help with a plugged drain on Ralph Drive
Next week’s activities include staff meetings, Diwali dance practice, Council group pictures, and a Cary Chamber Leadership dinner.
Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, August 14th. 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.
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! Dan
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.
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.
This week was another slow summer week for mayoral activities.
Cary Firefighters awarded
Monday I joined council member Jack Smith in a ceremony to award fifteen Cary Firefighters who received SAVE Awards for their bravery for their actions to rescue several people at the Harlon Drive apartment in March. North Carolina Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshall Mike Causey presented the awards to the firefighters who went beyond the call of duty. The Cary Fire Department also received the Commissioner’s Award on Monday for 100 years of service.
After the ceremony I talked with several firefighters and firefighter recruits. Cary currently has 26 recruits, out of 500 applicants, in a multi-month training program. I am so grateful for and proud of the Cary Fire Department. They are the best of the best and epitomize excellence.
Town Manager One-On-One
Later Monday I met with the town manager. Our topics included The Center in South Hills, the Cary Chamber Planning Conference, future sports opportunities for our venues, and connecting downtown with the Fenton, South Hills, and Crossroads via greenway and linear park.
Tuesday I joined several Cary staff members in our first dance practice for Diwali which will be held later this year. This year there will be teams from Cary, Morrisville, and Apex which include all three mayors. Rumor has it that there might even be a dance set with all three mayors.
Cary Chamber Planning Retreat
Wednesday and Thursday I joined Mayor Pro-Tem Frantz, council member Liu, several staff members, and about 100 business leaders at the Chamber Planning Conference in Pinehurst. Topics included The Center, Workforce Development, Workforce Wellness, Legislative Updates, the North Carolina Film Industry, a dinner keynote from the Director of the US Open, and Economic Updates.
I presented a PowerPoint on the Center which is expected to be in the South Hills Mall area. In my presentation I showed concept pictures, drawings, and a video created by the consultants. The consultants hired to design The Center are Populous and Davis Kane. Populous has designed many iconic sports facilities throughout the world and Davis Kane is a local architectural firm.
There are three major aspects to the Center. It will include a community center for the public, multiple courts for tournaments, and a 4,000-seat arena. One of the most exciting aspects of the facility is that it will be designed as a fully modern multi-generational community center. There will be a game room/teen area, and lounge/senior space and a Coffee bar and café. There will also be a lot of meeting rooms, teaching and rental spaces, a catering kitchen, indoor and outdoor group exercise, a spin room (cardio bikes), yoga studio, locker rooms and family bathrooms.
The arena will be designed to be “hyper-flexible” which will allow Cary to host concerts, e-sports, court-related events and championships, gymnastics, ceremonies, and civic events. The facility will include 12 basketball courts which will convert to 20 volleyball courts. There will be multiple locker rooms, a catering kitchen, a full-service restaurant, and lots of storage space. The courts will have large expansive windows and exposed laminate wood for beams. Cary will partner with Great Raleigh Sports Alliance to program the venue. In the first year we expect to hold 40 tournaments with 18 of these being large tournaments of over 200 teams. By year five we expect to hold 67 tournaments. The Center will be designed to complement the Convention Center in Raleigh not to compete with it. My presentation completed in about twenty minutes.
Following my presentation, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction talked about Workforce Development in North Carolina. Some of my takeaways from that presentation included the fact that only 31 percent of graduates from our state’s public schools have jobs or are accepted into college. So, 69 percent graduate not knowing what to do next. This is at a time when there is high demand for skilled workers in the region. The Superintendent touted apprenticeships to the business leaders attending and advocated removing most EOG testing stating that it takes valuable time away from teachers. She pointed out how critical grades one through three are to a child’s education. That is, in grades one through three children are learning to read. After that, they are reading to learn. So if they fall behind in those early grades then learning becomes exponentially harder. It was also pointed out that retention of our teachers is another issue especially in rural areas. IMHO, public schools in North Carolina have a LOT of hurdles to overcome to be a top notch.
The next session on Workforce Wellness included a panel from Duke Raleigh Hospital, UNC Health, and WakeMed. Takeaways from the Q&A session included that most health professionals have experienced burnout from the pandemic. Some considered walking away from the profession and some had serious mental health issues including suicide. BTW, the national suicide hotline is 988. The panel also discussed things to watch for and encourage employers to ask employees about health which resonated with the employers in the audience.
NC Representative and former Mayor Pro-Tem of Cary, Gale Adcock, provided a legislative update. It is always fascinating to me that such a politically charged, divisive group, can accomplish anything at all. We are so blessed to have such a great representative from Cary in Gale Adcock, and I totally support her campaign to become our NC Senator.
One of the big items she mentioned that didn’t make it this year was Medicaid expansion. While it passed the NC Senate, it didn’t make it to a vote in the NC House. We are one of only 11 states where a coverage gap still exists. If Medicaid is expanded in North Carolina, over half a million non-elderly residents would become eligible for coverage. We can only hope it will happen next year.
The North Carolina Film Industry
The Director of the North Carolina Film Industry spoke about filming in North Carolina and the Economic Benefits it provides. He stayed politically neutral in his comments but pointed out how politics play a big role in what filming interest we receive. Currently North Carolina is looked on positively and our filming business is growing. We are getting businesses from other states who have recently made controversial policies. It is my hope that we continue NOT to have controversial policies which will help not only our film industry but all business in the state.
Wednesday night we were fortunate to have the Director of the US Open Championships at the USGA (United States Golf Association) speak to the group from Cary. He spoke about how the Golf House Pinehurst, which will include its equipment-testing facility, a visitor-friendly USGA Experience, and an educational landscape feature, will be completed by the end of 2023. In addition, he announced that the USGA and the World Golf Hall of Fame will be relocated to the Golf House Pinehurst campus from St. Augustine, Florida. It is scheduled to open in 2024. While these attractions will be in Pinehurst, they will benefit the state and the Triangle region.
His remarks also included the fact that the US Open will be in Pinehurst in 2024, 2029, 2035, 2041, and 2047.
On Thursday, Ted Abernathy, a consultant who works with states to develop economic and workforce strategies, provided an update on Cary’s, North Carolina’s, and the nation’s economy. He has provided updates at these conferences for several years.
The update included basic information such as unemployment rates, wages, GDP, political impacts, etc. but also provided insight on what to expect in the coming months and years. All the basic information showed Cary and North Carolina to be in great shape. However, his information on workforce showed that Cary, North Carolina, and the nation are headed for difficult times. He talked about the percentage of workers in the workforce from three age categories: 16-25, 25-60, 60+, and showed that they are about the same as they were ten years ago. The biggest difference is that the nation’s birthrate has declined for many years and there are fewer younger workers. In addition, service workers that were laid off during the pandemic found other work in jobs like Amazon, UPS, FedEx, etc. and have not come back to the service industry. Since the nation’s birthrate continues to drop, we will continue to struggle to find workers. As a result, we can expect more automation in restaurants, stores, etc.
The presentation was packed with information, and I found it extremely valuable. If you ever get a chance to hear him speak it would be a good talk to attend.
The planning conference ended with recognitions and talks by the incoming and outgoing chamber board. We are glad that the Chamber is such a strong partner with the town. They are a big reason Cary is so successful.
Richest City in America
On Saturday I was notified that Cary was ranked as the richest city in America. This was determined by taking into consideration the number of residents living in poverty, income rank, and percentage of the population unemployed. It was said that Cary had nice homes, good salaries, and comfortable living. It measured our median income at $107,463 and our unemployment rate at 3.3%.
Cary’s staff and council are always working to create the best of the best. While I am proud of what we have accomplished to date, I look forward to an even better tomorrow.
Town Manager’s Report
The town manager’s report for this week includes the following:
I had a great time at the Chamber’s Annual Planning Conference this week. The event was well organized and included an excellent line-up of speakers, including our very own Mayor Weinbrecht who did an amazing job presenting on The Center. As you would guess, conference attendees were impressed by the video, created by Populous + Davis Kane, which shares the project’s design concept and vision. Other conference highlights included an economic update from Ted Abernathy and the opportunity to begin our incremental, soft rollout of Cary’s new logo and tagline by giving away a few new branded items.
I’ll see you next week at our only Council meeting this month. Have a great weekend. Sean
Sharing Cary’s Culture
Deputy Town Manager Russ Overton had the opportunity to meet Marty Linsky, co-author of Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive through the Dangers of Leading, during his 3-week-long Harvard Kennedy School’s Senior Executives in State and Local Government program. Marty Linsky noted Cary “is the mothership of adaptive leadership application.” Speaking of Leadership on the Line, this week Chief Financial Officer Karen Mills presented to 200 North Carolina government finance professionals about our work to improve Cary’s accounts payable processes. She focused on the adaptive facets of rethinking our approach to a core business function by first explaining technical vs adaptive challenges as taught by Marty Linsky in Leadership on The Line. With that background, the presentation went on to frame problem solving with the key messages from the book Think Again by Adam Grant. Karen emphasized how important relationships and trust are to effective governance.
Fire Receives Award
On Monday, North Carolina Department of Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey presented SAVE Awards to 15 firefighters who went above and beyond the call of duty to rescue citizens at an apartment fire in March. He also bestowed a Commissioner’s Award on the fire department in honor of its 100-year anniversary. Commissioner Causey, who is also the State Fire Marshal, came to Fire Station 9 to make the presentations.
Town Hall Campus Ash Tree
Leaf & Limb performed a level 2 risk assessment on the Town Hall Ash tree damaged during the storm on June 17. Although the tree has a large wound at the base, the rating for risk over the next two years is low. Leaf & Limb recommends performing weight reduction and structural pruning. Our plan is to move forward with Leaf & Limb’s recommendations, monitor the tree and perform another assessment in two years.
Crabtree Creek Greenway to Reopen
The Crabtree Creek Greenway will reopen to the public on Saturday, July 23. The trail has been closed between Evans Road and the pedestrian bridge crossing Crabtree Lake since January 24, to enable rehabilitation of a 48-inch sewer line that shares space with the greenway. Crews removed the protective construction mats from the greenway trail, repaired any damaged areas and cleaned up the work area in preparation for reopening the trail. Over the coming weeks, citizens may observe contractor’s staff conducting additional restoration and cleanup along the trail, but no further closures are expected along the Crabtree Trail. Beginning Monday, July 25th, contractors will focus their efforts on rehabilitating 24-inch and 30-inch sewer lines along the Black Creek Greenway between West Dynasty Drive and North Cary Park, which requires closing this section of the Black Creek Greenway. A signed detour will direct greenway traffic around the work area. The greenway closure is expected to be in place for approximately 4 to 6 months. All remaining sections of the Black Creek Greenway and the Crabtree Creek Greenway will remain open during this next phase of sewer rehabilitation.
Stephenson Road Water Main Project Update
The Stephenson Road Water Main project achieved substantial completion this week with successful bacteriological testing. This 3,400-ft extension of water main increases the available service area and will ultimately help bring redundancy to this area of southern Cary. The final water main connection along Ten Ten Road near Mill Pond Village will likely be made with the future Ten Ten Road widening project. The project was completed on time and within the $700,000 project budget.
Election Day is this Tuesday, July 26. For more information about Election Day for the Second Primary and Cary Municipal Runoff and to find your Election Day polling place, visit the Wake County Board of Elections website.
Election Day is following 14 days of Early Voting for registered voters in Wake County. Early Voting began Thursday, July 7 and will end on Saturday, July 23 at 3:00 p.m. Votes cast during the Second Primary and Cary Municipal Runoff will determine the winner of three races in Wake County – the Cary Council At-Large seat, Cary Council District C seat, and the Democratic Sheriff race.
Over 5,000 voters participated in early voting at Herbert C. Young Community Center to vote early for the Second Primary and Town of Cary council runoff. The Herbert C. Young Community Center is one of two early voting locations for this election.
A complaint that Cary should “slow growth” due to climate change (Cary does not have the authority to determine when someone can develop their property. As a result, we cannot control the growth rate. We do determine the types of development by seeing if it matches the Cary Community Plan which was created by Cary citizens. BTW, our growth rate has been between 1.5% to 2.5% the last 15 years).
A complaint about a dilapidated building at Tryon and Walnut.
A complaint about getting a building permit.
A request for a sidewalk connection for Birkhaven in Lochmere.
Several requests to attend events.
Next week’s activities include staff meetings, election events, Diwali dance practice, a retirement party, a regularly scheduled council meeting, and a meeting of the North Carolina Metro Mayors.
Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, July 31st. 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.
This week was another slow summer week for mayoral activities.
New Pool at TAC
Monday started with an event celebrating the new 50-meter outdoor pool at TAC (Triangle Aquatic Center). I along with several others provided remarks. The following is an excerpt from my remarks:
“… During the last 15 years it has been amazing to watch the growth of TAC and how it changed to meet the needs of our area. And not only has it meet the needs, but it has also produced some of the best swimmers in the world including 3 Olympians and 2 Paralympians at the last Tokyo games in 2021. Those five talented athletes brought home a combined 7 medals, including 4 Gold, 2 Bronze, and 1 Silver to Cary. It doesn’t get much better than that!
Cary is proud to have a strategic partnership with TAC. The focus and programming to promote aquatic health, safety, and competition for Cary citizens and surrounding communities is invaluable. And we are so grateful that TAC sponsors the Make-A-Splash program, which allows financially disadvantaged families the opportunity to receive free swim lessons.
I am proud that TAC chooses to call Cary home. As one of the top aquatic centers in the United States it provides over $10 million in economic benefit from its swim meets. With this newest addition of the 50-meter pool and future expansions, I know TAC will continue doing and offering so much to our community. …”
The event was completed with members of the TAC Titans jumping in and beginning their practice.
Town Manager One-On-One
Later Monday I met with the town manager and the parks director for my weekly one-on-one. Topics included future opportunities with our sport venues, potential plans for the 217-park site, tennis center expansion, using trolleys in downtown, and the downtown park schedule. Based on current information we are hopeful that the downtown park fountain will be back on in December. If construction remains on schedule the downtown park should open next summer. Our meeting lasted about twenty minutes.
Police Chief Sult Sworn In
Tuesday I joined the majority of the council for the official swearing of our new police chief Terry Sult. I, along with others, provided remarks. The chief was sworn in by NC Secretary of State Elaine Marshall. Chief Sult had his badge pinned by his son who also has a career in policing.
Jack Smith Campaign Event
Thursday I attended a campaign event for Jack Smith. It has been my practice only to endorse incumbent council members though I am always willing to talk with and help all other candidates.
NC Metro Mayors Meeting
Friday I participated in a meeting of the North Carolina Metro Mayors. The following is a summary from the Executive Director:
Overall, not an overly active legislative session. There were a lot of conversations around some major policy items, but nothing came to fruition (exception is transportation – see below).
Two major items were sports betting and medical cannabis. Sports betting failed on the House floor 50-51 and the House Republican Caucus could not get the support need to move forward with medical cannabis.
We expect these two policy items to continue in 2023. As the legislature continues to lean in on efforts to decrease the income and corporate tax rates, these two items remain as important options to raise revenue for the State.
The budget passed with large bi-partisan support in both chambers and was signed by Governor Cooper on Monday, July 11.
The Governor had originally said he would veto if Medicaid expansion was not included. However, the House and Senate have indicated they remain committed to reaching a deal on Medicaid expansion. We anticipate the legislature could address expansion in their December session.
There were a lot of things not included in the budget which is a good thing for cities – issues we could be in defensive postures on. For example, no cuts to transit/SMAP or Powell bill funding (perennial concerns).
Commercial Service Airports received an additional $25 million in recurring funding, bringing the total to $100 million per year.
Sales Tax Revenue Transfer – Section 42.3, Page 190 – MAJOR PRIORITY for Metro Mayors
MMC submitted letter of support for the concept of using STATE SALES tax revenue for transportation – S793
S793 was included in the budget – the provision directs STATE sales tax revenues for transportation needs. It redirects 2 percent of sales tax revenue to the Highway Fund for transportation purposes, increasing to 4 percent in 2023 and 6 percent in subsequent years (est. $628m in 2024).
The bills would authorize the cities to use traffic investigators to investigate traffic accidents involving property damage. The City of Fayetteville and City of Wilmington were granted authority to employ Civilian Traffic Investigators in 2006 and 2007, respectively.
Both bills received good hearings in House Committees. There is work to be done in the Senate.
MMC needs to consider developing a strategy for the long session and consider what other cities may be interested in creating this authority.
We need to have conversations from a public safety perspective and debunk the idea this is a way to defund the police. It would be helpful to get police chiefs involved to educate legislators on this issue (successful strategy fir Greenville and Durham).
The bill passed the full House (79-33) and the Senate Commerce and Insurance Committee but did not advance further.
The bill would have created a 21-day timeline to approve plans filed for commercial developments and likely create unintended consequences such as lengthening the approval process instead of expediting.
These local bills are just two examples of the types of legislation dealing with annexation that are surfacing more and more at the General Assembly and could potentially come as a statewide set of circumstances.
This is a complicated subject around fiscal issues and urban development that we need to work on educating both the legislature and our colleagues in the counties.
Next session, we need to be more proactive in bringing solutions to leadership, so we are “at the table, instead of on the plate.”
Beau has had conversations with NCLM staff about this issue – NCLM Strategic Communications team is working on the relationship between water and sewer and annexation and it will continue to be a topic for us to be engaged on. Educating legislators on the complexities of this issue needs to be a priority.
This was driven by the Homebuilders Association, and we expect more to come in 2023.
Section 9 requires local governments to designate a person responsible for the daily oversight of the local government’s duties and responsibilities under GS 160D-1104 (building code inspection department). It also requires local governments to publish an annual financial report on how it used fees the previous year for its building code enforcement program.
Section 10 would expressly prohibit a zoning or development regulation from setting a maximum parking space size larger than nine feet wide by twenty feet long, unless the parking space is a handicap, parallel, or diagonal parking space.
Sections 1-4 recodify and revise the statutes related to common area entertainment permits and social districts to make them more uniform and clarify the areas that can be included under a common area entertainment permit or a social district.
Section 5 (added in the Senate as a floor amendment in the last days of session) clarifies that a real property owner denied water or sewer service to property subject to an annexation agreement between local governments is allowed to seek other service or petition the court for relief.
Section 6 amends the “private bar” definition to eliminate the membership requirement.
The meeting lasted just over thirty minutes.
Town Manager’s Report
The town manager’s report for this week includes the following:
It was great to end the week with my monthly update on the Downtown Park with Manager Joy Ennis. Joy is doing a great job balancing all the activities and interests while building an excellent team to implement the vision for this historic project for our downtown. The Gathering Place is beginning to go vertical, and the elevated walkway has been erected. The project remains on schedule for a summer 2023 opening – so exciting! I look forward to attending and seeing several of you at the Chamber’s Annual Planning Conference in Pinehurst next week. Enjoy your weekend. Sean
Installation of Historic Signage
A new sign has been placed near the back southeast corner of the Hillcrest Cemetery. Last year, Cary applied for and received a placemaking grant in the amount of $1,500 from the Raleigh Regional Association of Realtors (RRAR). The idea behind the grant project was to recognize Cary’s first African American Church site within the downtown area. The church, Cary First Christian, built their original structure in 1883. The structure no longer stands; however, remnants of the church remain and are located along the future Higgins Greenway trail. Current members of the Cary First Christian church and the Friends of Page-Walker collaborated with staff to research and compile the area’s rich history. Grant funds were then used to design and install educational signage that calls attention to this historic location, creating a place for residents and visitors to learn and reflect on Cary’s past. The signage is currently located in Hillcrest Cemetery and will be moved to its permanent location along the Greenway once construction is completed. A PDF version of the sign can be viewed here.
Chief of Police Oath of Office Ceremony
On Tuesday, Chief Terry Sult took the Oath of Office, becoming Cary’s 14th Chief of Police. Chief Sult was appointed in October 2021 to serve as Cary’s Interim Chief. Following a nationwide search, Town Manager Sean Stegall announced that Sult would serve as Cary’s newest Chief of Police. Special thanks to N.C. Secretary of State Elaine Marshall for administering the Oath of Office to Chief Sult.
Bond Park Challenge Course Participation
The Bond Park Challenge Course has been very busy this summer, providing adventures and leadership development programs for several public and private groups.
A few notable visitors include:
Town of Cary Fire Academy 26
The Federal Bureau of Investigation Academy
Town of Cary Specialized Recreation & Inclusion
Governor Morehead School of the Blind
We are excited to continue collaborating with organizations and share our passion for leadership.
Norwell Boulevard Pedestrian and Bicycle Improvements
Improvements have been made to pedestrian and bicycle access on Norwell Boulevard between Weston Oaks Court and North Cary Park. Improvements include pavement resurfacing, new pavement markings, and flexible delineators to designate bicycle lanes on both sides of Norwell Boulevard. In addition, curb ramps were upgraded to current ADA standards.
The enhancements to Norwell Boulevard will improve bicycle and pedestrian access along this corridor, which will serve as part of the detour route for the Black Creek Greenway during sewer rehabilitation and upcoming renovation of the Black Creek Greenway.
CAWTF Water Production Update
Recent dry conditions and high temperatures led to the highest water production of the year at the Cary/Apex Water Treatment Facility (CAWTF). The 30.7 million gallons of treated water produced on July 7 was just shy of last August’s all-time record. While the Triangle has been inching toward drought conditions, water levels at Jordan Lake have remained fairly steady and have been increased by recent rainfall. Due to careful planning and optimization, the 56-MGD rated CAWTF has the treatment capacity needed to meet the needs of our citizens now and many years into the future.
Virtual Neighborhood Rezoning Meetings
Neighborhood meetings will be held virtually on WebEx from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. on August 3. The following cases will be discussed:
A request for information about Walker Street issues.
A notification from a citizen that Cary was ranked #1 among the 20 Safest Cities in America by Wall Street.
A complaint about racism at a laundry mat in Cary.
A suggestion to install benches in the shade next to the sand boxes at Carpenter Park.
A thanks to our police department for cross walk enforcement on South Academy Street.
A request about the status on the Chapel Hill Road study.
A request to connect sidewalks for Birkhaven in Lochmere.
A complaint about the town manager not responding to an issue in time.
Next week’s activities include staff meetings, an event with NC Insurance Commissioner Causey, a meeting of the Wake County Mayors Association, dance practice for Diwali, and the Cary Chamber Planning Conference.
Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, July 24th. 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.
This week was very slow which is typical for this time of year.
Monday began with a celebration of the Sharma family arriving in the area 50 years ago. The Sharma family founded the HSNC (Hindu Society of North Carolina) temple. They were one of the first families to arrive here from India. Now the Indian Americans make up a significant portion of Cary and Morrisville’s population. I was joined by several elected officials and community leaders in providing remarks. I spoke about how their presence in this area had a huge positive impact on our communities. We are so lucky to have such a diverse community where our differences are embraced and celebrated.
July 4th Celebration
Later Monday I attended Cary’s July 4th celebration at the Koka Booth Amphitheater. This year’s July 4th celebration was very much like pre-pandemic. A capacity crowd, estimated to be around 10,000, attended to hear the Cary Town Band followed by the North Carolina Symphony. We are so blessed to be the Symphony’s home for the summer. Between the Cary Town Band and the Symphony performances, I provided a few remarks recognizing dignitaries and our veterans. The celebration ended with a twenty-minute display of fireworks which, as usual, was amazing.
Tuesday’s meeting with the town manager was cancelled since he was on vacation, a well-deserved vacation.
School Board Candidate Meeting
Thursday I met with someone running for school board. I urge everyone to pay attention to these “down ballot” races. Our children’s education is extremely important and retaining good teachers is a huge issue that impacts all of us.
Friday’s North Carolina Metro Mayors meeting was cancelled but here is a summary of legislative actions from the KTS lobbyists:
Legislature Adjourns 2022 Short Session
The North Carolina General Assembly concluded most of the work for the 2022 legislative short session on Friday, July 1. The adjournment resolution (SJR917) reconvenes the legislature on July 26 for two days. The resolution also allows for the General Assembly to return once each month for the remainder of the year. Items that can be considered during those sessions are limited to things such as reconsideration of bills vetoed by the Governor, appointments bills, election bills, and conference reports.
Compared to previous sessions, the legislature passed a minimal amount of bills during the short session. Governor Cooper has signed twenty-three bills into law. Twenty-six bills are currently awaiting action from the Governor. A large number of local bills, mainly dealing with deannexation/annexation issues, were passed by the General Assembly. Local bills are not sent to the Governor for consideration.
The budget for the 2022-2023 Fiscal Year passed third and final reading last Friday, July 1 with a vote of 82-25 in the House and 36-8 in the Senate. Twenty House Democrats and eleven Senate Democrats voted in favor of the proposal. Currently, we are awaiting action from Governor Cooper on the budget. He has until July 11 to sign or veto, otherwise the bill would become law without his signature. If the Governor vetoes the bill, we anticipate the General Assembly will attempt to override the veto in one of the sessions allowed in the adjournment resolution. An override requires a three-fifths majority vote. This means Republicans need three Democrats to vote for the override in the House and two in the Senate. Below are the links to the full budget document and money report.
Amidst a numerous amount of Supreme Court decisions released over the last several weeks, two cases originating in North Carolina have made their way to the nation’s highest court.
Berger v North Carolina Conference of the NAACP – In 2018, a ballot referendum in North Carolina was used to implement Voter ID statewide. The issue has since worked its way up through the NC Supreme Court and ultimately was appealed to the US Supreme Court. Attorney General Stein was responsible for defending the Voter ID amendment, a provision he very publicly opposed. NC House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) began pushing back on the idea of state laws being defended by state officials that were not committed to defending the provisions.
On June 23, the Supreme Court ruled that North Carolina state legislative leaders have the right to intervene in litigation to defend the constitutionality of the state’s voter ID law. This 8-1 decision is pivotal for state legislatures that operate in a politically divided state, such as North Carolina, and enables them to defend their state’s laws in the way they see fit.
Moore v Harper – The Supreme Court announced its intent to hear this case when the Court returns after their summer break. Moore v Harper calls into question the North Carolina Supreme Court’s ability to review and reject maps drawn by the North Carolina General Assembly. Republican leaders in North Carolina point to the elections clause in the U.S. Constitution that states, “the times, places and manner of holding elections for senators and representatives, shall be prescribed in each state by the legislature therof; but Congress may at any time by law make or alter such regulations.” The outcome of this case could have a nationwide impact on elections.
Boards and Commissions Application
The Application for Cary’s Boards and Commissions has closed. Council is now in the process of reviewing the applicants and will make recommendations to the board and commission liaisons for interviews. After interviews the council will vote on the each liaison’s recommendations for appointment.
Town Manager’s Report
The town manager’s report for this week included the following:
Happy Friday! We began this week by celebrating our Nation’s Independence. The one holiday out of the year that harkens to the governance that we practice daily. It’s a special holiday for us to celebrate, reflect, and to lean into our challenges with optimism. To conclude the week, this report includes highlights from the celebration and project updates. Enjoy your weekend. Dan
Fenton Development: Building permits were issued to complete the upfits of Sports & Social Restaurant, Superica, and Vestique.
Candlelight, 126 West Chatham Street, Suite 200: The building permit has been approved for a new bar with seating on the second floor of the of the office building across the street from Ivey-Ellington. The first floor is currently occupied by Independent Advisors.
Protolabs, 3615 Pleasant Grove Church Road, Suite 101: The building permit for the interior completion has been issued for Protolabs’ new location on Pleasant Grove Church Road.
Duke Health at Green Level, 100 Duke Health Cary Place: Certificates of occupancy have been issued for new medical office building and parking deck.
Independence Day Debrief
Cary welcomed more than 10,000 people to its Independence Day Celebration at Koka Booth Amphitheatre, which included performances by the Cary Town Band and North Carolina Symphony inside the venue, plus games, food trucks, and more outside the venue, capped off by a spectacular fireworks display over Symphony Lake. Mayor Weinbrecht provided a warm welcome from the stage, while Council Members Jennifer Robinson, Jack Smith, Ya Liu, and Ed Yerha attended with family and friends. Wake County Commissioners Sig Hutchinson and Maria Cervania also attended. A cross-departmental team served in Unified Command off-site at Fire Station 9, led by Chief Andy Hiscock and Lt. Stephen Matthews, providing support to the operations team on the ground at the amphitheater. Thanks to their collective hard work, the event was a success.
Maynard Tank Class of ‘23
Cary’s annual salute to its high school seniors was painted on the Maynard Road water storage tank on Tuesday. With the usual painting contractor unable to meet the schedule this year, Utilities staff sprang into action climbing the 138-foot ladder with paint buckets in tow.
Walnut Street Park Upgrades
Walnut Street Park is in the final stages for installing new pickleball and basketball courts. As part of the effort, moveable furniture was added this week to the brick plaza by Walnut Street. This plaza is part of the public art completed by Barbara Grygutis in 2009 titled, Imaginary Garden.
East Chatham Street Traffic Shift
Contractors working as part of private development for the Rogers Building will be performing a temporary traffic shift on East Chatham Street between Academy Street and Walker Street. This is necessary to facilitate vertical building and site construction. Weather permitting, work will begin on July 18 and will be complete by the end of the next calendar day. Traffic will be reduced from the three-lane section to a two-lane section at the intersection with Walker Street. This traffic pattern is expected to be in place until fall 2023.
NCDOT Repaving in Cary
As part of NCDOT’s street maintenance plan, NCDOT is repaving a couple of streets within Cary. Curb ramp upgrades and paving are complete on Penny Road from Ten Ten Road to Kildaire Farm Road, and temporary lane markings have been installed with permanent lane markings scheduled to be installed in the next month. In addition, NCDOT started work on Ten-Ten Road from downtown Apex to US 401. Patching work is ongoing and expected to finish in a week, concrete curb ramp upgrades are scheduled to start in the next couple of weeks, and paving is expected to start in the next 2-3 months and be complete Winter 2022.
Early Voting Begins
July 7 kicked off early voting for the Runoff Election. The two Cary races to be determined by the Runoff Election are a Council At-Large seat and the Council District C seat. Herb Young Community Center is one of two early voting locations in Wake County.
Full dates and times for early voting can be found here.
A request to help with understanding a Holly Springs rezoning
A request to meet with Triangle Off-Road Cyclists about the 217-acre park. (Staff is still gathering information about the land and evaluating issues with certain types of uses. There will be a time for public input in the future)
An ongoing complaint from an individual that says he was falsely arrested
A complaint about the cost to install a water meter for irrigation
A complaint about “unsightly” caution tape on overhead wires (this has been resolved)
A complaint about an ADA compliance issue
Next week’s activities include staff meetings, a swearing in ceremony for Police Chief Sult, the TAC (Triangle Aquatic Center) Grand Opening Expansion ceremony, and a meeting of the North Carolina Metro Mayors.
Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, July 17th. 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.
Monday I joined several staff members in a tour of the 217.07 acres Earnest Jones property which was bought by the town in August of 2020 with funds from the 2019 Shaping Cary’s Tomorrow Bond Referendum. Cary plans to eventually use the land for recreational activities and open space preservation. The site consists of woodlands, agricultural fields, and a portion of Indian and Turtle creeks. It also contains the Markham-Ferrell House which is estimated to have been built in the 1790s. It is located along Earnest Jones Road, between Yates Store Road and Mount Pisgah Church Road in Chatham County. The site also abuts a Town-owned site on New Hope Church Road which will allow future access to the American Tobacco Trail.
We spent an hour walking part of the property, touring the Markham-Ferrell House, seeing a few outbuildings like tobacco barns, seeing old farm equipment, and enjoying the natural beauty. It is my hope that we can make this property accessible to all while at the same time preserving the land and open space. I can see a potential botanical garden and walking trails as part of the future for this site. Staff is currently working on ideas to bring forward for council consideration.
Tuesday I met virtually with an auditor as part of the annual audit of the town. Officially, the auditor is working on behalf of the council and its citizens. The questions mostly focused on my awareness of any questionable activity. Which I had none. In fact, I stated that I was very comfortable with the town’s finances. My interview lasted about ten minutes.
Ya Liu Kickoff
Wednesday evening I joined Congresswoman Ross, NC Senator Wiley Nickel, NC House Representative Gale Adcock, Cary Council member Robinson, Cary Council member Smith, Morrisville Mayor Cawley, and several other dignitaries at the kickoff event for Cary Council member Ya Liu in her race for the NC House of Representatives. I provided remarks endorsing Ya as did several of the dignitaries. The event had approximately 150 in attendance.
Paragon Theaters in the Fenton
Thursday I participated in the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Paragon Theaters in the Fenton. The theater is the second in Cary and the 7th owned by this group. I was joined by council members Smith and Robinson and several other dignitaries. Its claim to fame is that it has the largest movie screen in North Carolina. The screens have Axis 15 technology which means they are titled for optimum viewing. The reclining seats are zero gravity with heating, cooling, and a tray for food (which can be ordered at any time with your phone). The seats are divided with privacy walls so that you can only see the person next to you. The theater complex also includes a full-service restaurant and bar as well as a 16-lane bowling alley. The large screen theater is currently showing the Top Gun Sequel which I plan to see soon. Congratulations to Paragon Theaters on their opening.
NC Legislative Summary
The NC Mayors Association meeting for Friday was cancelled. But here is a summary of legislative activity from the Association’s lobbyists:
The NC General Assembly intends to conclude the majority of their work for the 2022 legislative short session today (July 1). As of the writing of this newsletter, the House and Senate have filed separate adjournment resolutions (HJR1178 and SJR917). The Senate version adjourns the legislature on July 1, 2022 to reconvene July 26, 2022 while the House version adjourns the legislature on July 15, 2022 to reconvene August 12, 2022. Both resolutions call the legislature back once each month for the remainder of the year. Legislation that can be considered during those sessions are limited, however the House version includes a broader range of items that could be addressed. We will update you with the final resolution that is adopted in next week’s newsletter.
The budget proposal for the 2022-2023 Fiscal Year was released Tuesday evening. The budget revision plan spends $27.9 billion in FY 2022-23, a 7.2 percent increase. The proposal was released as a conference report meaning there was no opportunity for amendments. The House and Senate Finance, Appropriations, and Pensions Committees met jointly on Wednesday to hear the details of the bill. On Thursday, the bill passed second reading in both chambers with bipartisan support. The vote was 85-27 in the House and 38-9 in the Senate. The third and final reading will be held today (July 1).
Upon passage, the proposal will be sent to Governor Cooper for consideration. It is unclear at this point what action the Governor will take. He has ten days to sign, veto, or let the bill become law without his signature. If vetoed, we anticipate the legislature will return to attempt to override the veto.
Below are some of the highlights of the spending plan.
Increases teacher pay raise by an average of 4.2 percent (6.7 percent over the biennium).
Appropriates an additional $15 million recurring for the School Resource Officer Grant program and an additional $32 million for School Safety Grants to support students in crisis, school safety training, and safety equipment in schools.
Redirects 2 percent of sales tax revenue to the Highway Fund for transportation purposes (increasing to 4 percent in 2023 and 6 percent in subsequent years).
Allocates an additional $5 million for the GREAT Grants to expand broadband access in underserved areas.
Continues enhanced COVID rates for nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
Provides $883 million for water and wastewater infrastructure projects.
S101, Require Cooperation with ICE 2.0 – This bill would require that ICE is queried when an individual charged with certain offenses is in custody and that person’s legal residency or citizenship is undetermined. It would also require a judicial official to order that a prisoner subject to a detainer and administrative warrant be held in custody for 48 hours or until ICE resolves the request. – Awaiting Senate concurrence vote
S455, Conform Hemp with Federal Law – The bill permanently exempts hemp products from North Carolina’s controlled substance law. The approved language keeps over 1,500 hemp producers in business in North Carolina. – Signed by Governor on Thursday (June 30)
H768, 2022 ABC Omnibus Bill – One provision of this bill removes the requirement for bars that don’t serve food to be classified as private clubs and sell memberships to customers. The bill also allows for alcohol to be sold at professional sporting events held on community college campuses. – Awaiting action from Governor
H911, Regulatory Reform Act of 2022 – This is the annual omnibus bill that amends laws related to state and local government, agriculture, energy, environment, natural resources, and other various regulations. Some of the provisions include extending the deadline for small municipalities to adopt comprehensive land-use plans, amending licensure requirements for cosmetic arts, and clarifying the scope of licensed water heater installation and repair. – Conference report adopted by the Senate, on House calendar for today (July 1)
Town Manager’s Report
The town manager’s report for this week includes the following:
On Wednesday, I held our quarterly All Hands meeting with staff. Items we discussed included the FY 2023 budget and the one-year anniversary of the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Then, Assistant Human Resources Directors Laura Turk and Ashley Lategan joined me for a discussion on employee benefits. We ended the day on a bittersweet note as Chief Financial Officer Karen Mills reflected on her 31-year career with the Town of Cary. Karen brings so much care, knowledge, and empathy to this organization, and she will be dearly missed.
I will be traveling with my family for the upcoming holiday week. Have a fun and safe 4th! Sean
Independence Day Celebration
Staff from multiple departments have been busy over the past few months planning and preparing for the upcoming Fourth of July Celebration at Koka Booth Amphitheatre. We have taken great care to plan for and provide a safe, enjoyable, and entertaining experience for our community. For event information click here. For SMS Alerts, text JULY to 51597.
Billy Strings at Koka Booth Amphitheater
Cary hosted performer Billy Strings for three nights at Koka Booth Amphitheatre on June 23, 24, and 25. It’s the first time in the venue’s 21-year history that a single artist has been hosted for multiple nights, selling more than 18,000 tickets. Fans flocked from around the nation, with many visiting the venue for the first time. Accolades were shared on social media by people in attendance.
Reedy Creek Road Project
The work on Reedy Creek Road is now substantially complete. As the project evolved, it addressed the concerns of multimodal transportation and traffic calming by introducing sidewalks, bike lanes, median islands, and roundabouts to what was once a two-lane roadway. Next steps will include the addition of medians and a larger roundabout this fall into the following spring as the appropriate plantings become available.
On Monday, fifteen employees attended a Security Day hosted at Raleigh Convention Center. This training was presented by fellow event and venue security staff as part of the Crowd Manager Course through the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM). Topics included building a security culture, risk types, crowd dynamics, crowd types, profiling behaviors, mental preparedness for active shooter/bomb threats, building a hazard library, and de-escalating a non-compliant person. This was a valuable day and the group can apply this knowledge in their roles managing large events and venues in Cary.
PD’s Crisis Negotiation Team Brings Home First Place
On Wednesday, the Police Department’s Crisis Negotiation Team was awarded first place at the Blue Ridge Mountains Crisis Negotiator’s Challenge. Hosted by the North Carolina Justice Academy, the negotiator challenge presents area hostage negotiation teams with a real-world crisis scenario allowing them to demonstrate proficiency in gathering and managing intelligence information, developing a strategy, negotiating with role players, and managing risk. This year’s competition included hostage negotiation teams from the Raleigh Police Department, New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office, Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office, Lumberton Police Department, and Hendersonville Police Department. The event’s judges were so impressed with Cary’s team that they extended an invitation to compete at a national competition in Florida.
Senior Management Institute for Police Graduation
On June 23, Captain Kat Christian graduated from the 82nd Session of the Senior Management Institute for Police (SMIP) through Boston University’s School of Law. SMIP is a demanding three-week program of the Police Executive Research Forum that provides senior police executives with intensive training in the latest management concepts and practices used in business and government through discussions of the most challenging issues facing law enforcement executives today.
A request to help a family member get to the US (they were denied entry)
Next week’s activities include staff meetings, the Fourth of July celebration, an anniversary celebration of one of the first Indian Americans to arrive in this area, private interviews, and a meeting of the North Carolina Metro Mayors.
Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, July 10th. 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.
Monday I attended a meeting of the Wake County Mayors Association. In attendance were the mayors from Cary, Fuquay-Varina, Garner, Knightdale, Morrisville, Rolesville, Wake Forest, Wendell, and Zebulon. We talked about annual budgets which most towns had already approved. Based on the information provided, Cary will have the lowest tax rate by about five cents. We also talked about development and issues related to development. Our meeting lasted a little over two hours.
Chiefs of Police Association Meeting
Tuesday morning I joined council member Robinson in a meeting of North Carolina Police Chiefs Association held at the SAS Executive Briefing Center. I provided remarks along with the Association Executives and SAS representatives. Then we spent about an hour listening how SAS software can pull all the streams of information together to allow better decisions in policing. I was blessed to be among such great leaders from around the state. I look forward to Cary being able to leverage technology that is created within our municipal borders.
Later Tuesday I attempted to contact council members to hear of their concerns or questions about Thursday’s agenda. There were very few questions. Later in the day I met with Mayor Pro-Tem Frantz, management, and directors to go over the agenda. Our meeting concluded within fifteen minutes.
Town Manager One-On-One
My last meeting Tuesday was my weekly one-on-one with the town manager. Topics included the storm cleanup, and we agreed the town should be lenient on accepting debris curbside. Other topics included the non-discriminating ordinance with Wake County, and our technical strategy with data.
Fenton Hotel Developer
Thursday I joined the planning director in a meeting about a future hotel at the Fenton. Attending were representatives from the developer and their branding consultants. The big take away from this meeting is that the developer wants to build something that is unique for Cary and that residents will identify as Cary’s own. I am excited about what we might see.
New Police Chief Reception
Thursday afternoon I attended a reception for Terry Sult who was recently named as Cary’s new police chief. Chief Sult was the police chief in Hampton, Virginia from 2013 until 2020 before retiring and then coming out of retirement to serve as Cary’s interim police chief. Previously he served as chief in Sandy Springs, Georgia, and Gastonia, North Carolina, following a 27-year career with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. We are so very blessed to have someone with the talent, experience, and vision as Chief Sult.
Thursday evening the council held its last meeting of the month and for the fiscal year. The meeting included nine consent items, four public hearings, and two discussion items.
The council unanimously approved a resolution permitting Wake County’s Nondiscrimination Ordinance to apply within Cary’s corporate limits. Included with the approval was an interlocal agreement (ILA) authorizing the Town Manager or Deputy Town Manager to “execute an agreement substantially like the ILA and to provide such notices and take such actions as ILA contemplates. Bottom line is while there were protections already in place this gives our citizens additional protection than those traditionally covered by federal and state law.
FY 2023 Budget
The council also unanimously approved the fiscal year 2023 budget. The budget totals $443.6 million which was a 10.9% increase from the prior year. This expenditure increase is largely offset with sales tax revenue expectations. It will keep our tax rate unchanged at $0.345 per every $100 of assessed valuation. There will be a $1.50 increase per month to the solid waste and recycling fee. The utility fee will also increase by 3%.
Our meeting concluded after about 45 minutes.
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:
Sports betting, Medicaid expansion, and budget negotiations consumed the majority of conversations in the General Assembly this week.
House and Senate leadership entered final negotiations on the budget Thursday morning, and we anticipate a proposal to be released early next week.
The House and Senate now have individual plans for Medicaid Expansion across North Carolina. This topic will be at the center of negotiations for the remainder of session.
Floor votes are expected to be held every day next week, keeping the General Assembly on track to adjourn before the July 4th holiday.
The letter of support distributed on behalf of the Metro Mayors was well received in both chambers. This was a great way to demonstrate our collaborative partnership with the business community on topics like this. Thanks to all the mayors for their quick feedback, we have heard from a number of legislators thanking the mayors for adding their voices to this issue.
The effort to use STATE sales tax revenues for transportation is currently being discussed among leadership. The Speaker and Senate Pro Tem will ultimately make the final decision as to whether or not it makes the cut for the short session. We will continue to keep a close eye on this provision as budget negotiations come to a close.
H291 would have some unintended consequences and is likely to increase fees for developers.
This bill continues to be discussed but does not appear to be moving any further at this point.
We would advise you to discuss with your planning staff how this bill would impact your municipality. It is important for your delegation to understand how you handle the process and how this bill would impact cost and timelines
These local bills are examples of the types of legislation dealing with annexation that are surfacing more and more at the General Assembly and could potentially come as a statewide set of circumstances.
This is a complicated subject around fiscal issues and urban development that we need to work on educating both the legislature and our colleagues in the counties.Mayor Alexander suggests we partner with NCLM, perhaps including some sort of task force to strategically work on this issue during the interim.
The meeting concluded after about half an hour.
Town Manager’s Report
The town manager’s report for this week included the following:
I hope you enjoy this week’s report and have a nice weekend! Sean
Congresswoman Ross, and Council Members Jack Smith and Ya Liu attended the Celebrate Freedom event at the old library site on June 19. Council member Liu read opening remarks and Council Member Smith read the Juneteenth Proclamation. The event served as a space for celebration, remembrance, and tradition for many in the Cary community.
Cary Housing Program Expands to Job Training Initiative
To help fill the gap between housing needs and job loss due to the pandemic, Cary has partnered with Passage Home to launch a job training initiative for under employed residents. This job training program will help residents earn certifications for positions in leading employment industries and includes job placement after graduation from the program. This initiative is funded by Cary’s Community Development Block Grant program and works with job seekers one-on-one to understand their situation and unique barriers to self-sufficiency. The program also helps job seekers overcome challenges with childcare, transportation, and education to help in the success with their future career.
New Pride Training Programs for Staff
As part of Cary’s celebration of PRIDE month, the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion launched a LGBTQ+ educational program series for staff. The three workshops were LGBTQ+ Allyship 101, Allyship 102 & Beyond, and Safe Zone training. These workshops were developed to equip staff with knowledge, awareness and skills to become more inclusive, informed and supportive allies to the LGBTQ+ community.
Old Chatham Golf Club Update
This week Cary welcomes Old Chatham Golf Club as a full-fledged Cary water customer. Over two years ago, Cary started with a desire to help a business neighbor achieve their goals. Temporary water connections were made to meet the seasonal needs of the golf course. Today, permanent underground piping and vaults have been installed and now seamlessly deliver Cary water. Having a relatively large volume user at the outer edge of the water system not only benefits revenue but helps to maintain high water quality.
Summer Camps 2022 Open for Business
Cary summer camps opened on June 13 at eight locations with over 500 campers in attendance. The variety of offerings is never-ending this summer, with full day to half-day camp options. Camp themes include visual arts, ceramics, performing arts, outdoor recreation, full day summer camp, STEM, sports, skateboard, tennis, and other specialty offerings. Camp activities will serve over 5,700 kids this summer across a dozen facilities.
Cary celebrated International Day of Yoga on June 21. Close to 70 participants began their day with a refreshing sunrise yoga class at Bond Park lakefront or ended their day with a virtual class or sunset yoga in the Garden Plaza at Page-Walker.
Good Hope Farm Summer Produce Starts
Cary’s Good Hope Farm launched their annual summer produce service last week. Collectively, 19 farmers are providing eight weeks of produce to 25 families through this dynamic program. Participants enjoy fresh vegetables, supporting local farmers, and learning more about the historic farm site. Additionally, an average of 50 pounds of produce each week will be donated to Dorcas Ministries Food Pantry to help provide food security to families in need.
Tree and Forest Management
A healthy urban forest requires tree and forest management in addition to plantings that add to the canopy. Recently, staff cleared up space under a heritage oak tree in Jack Smith Park to support the well-being of this champion oak tree. It is now able to flourish, and its beauty and grandeur are more readily apparent for park visitors to enjoy.
State Firefighter of the Year Award
After being honored with a public service citation by the local Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) post, Fire Assistant Chief of Training and Safety Kevin Annis, was awarded the state VFW Firefighter of the Year award in June. Cary’s Franklin-Reedy Post 7383 held a banquet in May to honor local nominees from 2019 and 2021, since COVID precluded having a ceremony and selection process in 2020. Fire Captain Brian Couch, 2019’s nominee, and Chief Annis, the 2021 honoree, attended, along with law enforcement and EMS professionals. Chief Annis was notified later that month of his selection as the recipient of the state award, for which there was a ceremony on June 12.
Animal Services Receives Four New Kennels
The Citizens Assisting Police (CAP) Team donated four mobile kennels to our Animal Services Team. Having four kennels that can be easily moved around and cleaned out on wheels is a beneficial asset for the Animal Services staff. We appreciate the ongoing support of the wonderful CAP Team.
DBE Policy Statement
Cary maintains a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program as a condition of receiving federal financial assistance from the US Department of Transportation for transit service. As the DBE Liaison Officer (DBELO), TeLeishia Holloway is responsible for implementing all aspects of the DBE program, including dissemination of our policy statement to Town Council. If you have any questions regarding the policy, TeLeishia may be reached via email.
Virtual Neighborhood Rezoning Meeting
Neighborhood meetings will be held virtually on WebEx from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. on July 13. The following cases will be discussed:
22-REZ-06 Green Level Church Rd at Mills Farm Rd
22-REZ-11 4309 Pine Rail, 1304 Batchelor Rd
22-REZ-15 Swift Creek Elementary School Renovation/Replacement
A complaint that Cary celebrates Juneteenth “to secure the vote of the black minority which represents less than 10 percent of the Cary population.”
A concern that drones are not regulated enough
A request to help remove invasive species from Cary greenways
A request to install communication boards on Cary playgrounds for non-verbal/non-speaking children
A complaint from someone who was “wrongly arrested in April of 2020.”
Next week’s activities include staff meetings, a tour of the Ernest Property (200 acres bought by Cary for a park and open space), an audit fraud interview, a meeting with a vocal class, Cary Council member Ya Liu’s kickoff event for NC House, a ribbon cutting for the Fenton’s Paragon Theaters Grand Opening, and a meeting of the North Carolina Metro Mayors.
Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, July 3rd. 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.
The week began with a Cary Chamber Member Golf Guest tournament on Monday. This was a time for local business leaders to have fun and start new relationships. I played with council member Jack Smith, Cary Chamber Chairman of the Board Rick Stephenson, and Cotton Incorporated CEO Berrye Worsham. Our businesses are the backbone of our town and have contributed greatly to our success. Thanks to all who believe and invest in our community.
Wednesday I participated in a meeting of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Executive Board. The agenda included three consent items and six discussion items.
The unanimously agreed to direct CAMPO staff to get further information from three submitting agencies via more detailed proposals on financial and administrative structures. The three agencies were Raleigh (current), Cary, and Triangle J COG.
The Executive Board received information on NCDOT Mileage Based User Fee Pilot Program, the Western Wake Traffic Signal System Integration Study, an update from the Mobility Coordination Committee, the Locally Administered Projects Program (LAPP) FFY2024 Program and Target Modal Investment Mix, and the FY2024-2033 Preliminary Draft State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP).
The Western Wake Traffic Signal Study presented three options for Cary, Morrisville, Apex, Fuquay Varina, and Holly Springs:
Have each municipality do their own system.
Have Cary manage the signal system for all five municipalities.
Keep Cary and Morrisville together (as it is today), and have Apex, Fuquay Varina, and Holly Springs do their own signal system.
This will be decided at a later date.
The STIP (State Transportation Improvement Program) report stated that there is 54% less funding for highway projects that were already approved. This will result in the delay of several NCDOT projects in and around Cary except for Aviation Parkway widening, McCrimmon Parkway widening and Green Level Church Road bridge replacement at Kit Creek. Project delays are proposed throughout the division and state. No Cary greenway, bike/ped or transit projects were delayed. If design was funded and underway, that phase of the project will continue however ROW (Right of Way) and CON (Construction) dates may have shifted. Below is a summary of the NCDOT’s projects in Cary:
1. Aviation Parkway Between I-40 and NC 54 (U-5811)
Current: ROW 2029, CON 2031
Proposed: ROW 2028, CON 2030, Accelerated 1 year
2. Crossroads Junction, the I-40/I-440/US 1/US 64 Interchange Project (I-5701 and I-5703)
Current: design-build ROW/CON 2026
Proposed: design-build ROW/CON 2027
3. Green Level Church Road Bridge Replacement (B-5673)
No Schedule Change: ROW 2023, CON 2025
4. Holly Springs Rd Intersection Improvements from Ten-Ten Rd to Cary Pkwy (U-6217)
9. US 64 Improvements from US 1 to Laura Duncan Road (U-5301)
Current: ROW 2026, CON 2029
Proposed: ROW and CON Unfunded
The CAMPO Executive Board and Cary will be working to try and swap some of these unfunded projects in the ten-year STIP.
Green Hope High School Graduation
Wednesday night I attended the Green Hope High School graduation. Other elected officials included Wake County School board members, and Morrisville mayor Cawley and several council members. There were 570 students that received their diplomas.
Thanks to Principal Dr. Camille Hedrick for all her years of service as moves to retirement.
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:
It was another fairly quiet week at the NC General Assembly. The majority of legislation heard in committee and on the floor were local bills.
Majority Leadership anticipates finalizing a deal for budget at the beginning of next week and sharing the proposal with Governor Cooper before it is released. No details have been disclosed, but we anticipate the proposal to include tax reductions, additional salary changes, and funding for state construction projects.
The General Assembly is still on track to adjourn by July 1.
We expect legislative committee things to ramp up next week as the legislature may consider larger policy issues such as sports betting and medical marijuana. The Senate has suggested they plan to complete most committee work by the end of next week.
S793– STATE Sales Tax Revenue Transfer to Transportation
Each member of the General Assembly received the support letter from the Metro Mayors supporting legislative efforts for additional funding for transportation (MMC letter attached).
This effort to secure additional funding for transportation may end up being addressed in the budget that is being finalized early next week. So time is of the essence for advocacy efforts. Any phone calls or outreach to your member of the General Assembly (or efforts to engage your business community to help) should target this weekend or Monday. This is particularly important in regard to your state House members, as that Chamber seem less supportive of the effort.
Senator Sawyer, Senate Transportation Co-Chair, has expressed her gratitude for our support and efforts on this issue.
This bill is being used to unfairly blame local governments for holding up permits associated with multi-family and commercial development.
The bill would create a “shot clock” of 21 days to give final approval for plans filed for commercial developments.
A number of jurisdictions use a series of parallel processes to approve plans. This 21-day timeline would likely force cities (and counties) that review and approve plans to do the myriad of reviews in a sequential order to avoid risk of violating the 21-day final review requirement. This could ultimately create the unintended consequence of, actually lengthening the approval process instead of expediting it. NCLM advocacy staff have been attempted – unsuccessfully – to slow the bill.
Please talk to your plan review staff about their perspective on this issue. The next hearing on this bill will be in the Senate Judiciary Committee early next week. Please have conversations with your Senators about this bill, especially those that are on the Judiciary Committee. Consider alerting your own contract lobbyists to make contact with Senate Judiciary members if your staff agree this is a problem.
S911 modifies the requirements and procedures for the Town of Leland to conduct satellite annexations. The bill contains five requirements for the municipality to annex noncontiguous property.
This bill passed out of the Senate State and Local Government Committee this week and has been referred to Senate Rules.
Friday night severe storms came through Cary causing damage and power outages. The following information was provided by the Director of Public Works:
“… I wanted to give you an update regarding last night’s storm and cleanup operations. We had a significant storm impact us last night around 6:45 that took down a large number of trees throughout Cary. An area from Downtown running south to Regency and Lochmere had the greatest damage with scattered impacts elsewhere. Town staff worked throughout last night and continues to work today on clearing roads and facilities. The majority of roads have been cleared, but three areas (Park St, Tanglewood, and Pamlico) have trees down in power lines that Duke Energy will need to make safe before we can complete removal. Staff has been communicating with Duke, and these areas are assigned to power crews.
There has been damage to a number of our Parks and greenways as well as tree damage in Town Hall campus. We have staff assessing and working in all of these areas. Our focus today and tomorrow will be on completing road clearing and making sure our Facilities are safe. We will then transition to clean up which will likely last a week or two. I am attaching a few pictures of storm damage from last night and today. I believe we will hear the ringing of chainsaws for the next week or so in Cary.
We anticipate a large increase in residential yard waste and will be reprioritizing staff and equipment to accommodate this for the next few weeks as well. …”
I am glad the storm didn’t last any longer than it did. There was lots of damage in many parts of Cary.
Fellas Bond Memorial
Saturday I attended a memorial service for Fellas Bond (Former Mayor Fred Bond’s wife). As Cary’s first lady, she fielded a lot of calls and complaints when Mayor Bond was in office. She always handled them with grace and kindness. On a personal note, I was blessed that she was my aunt and loved me like I was her own. She will be missed. RIP Fellas!
A complaint about the lack of a pedestrian cross walk
A concern about a legislative bill that will expedite building permits in municipalities
Next week’s activities include staff meetings, a meeting of the Wake County Mayors Association, opening remarks at the Chiefs of Police Association Meeting, a meeting with hotel developers from the Fenton, a reception for new Police Chief Sult, a regularly scheduled council meeting, and a meeting of the North Carolina Metro Mayors.
Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, June 26th. 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.
Monday I attempted to contact council members to hear of questions and/or concerns about the upcoming regularly scheduled council meeting. Since the agenda was very light there were none. Later in the day I meet virtually with Mayor Pro-Tem Frantz, Directors, and Management to go over the agenda.
Town Manager One-On-One
My last meeting Monday was my weekly meeting with the town manager. Topics included EMS response times and the priority of future parks.
First Meeting of DEI Task Force
Tuesday night I virtually joined the first DEI Task Force meeting. Their agenda included introductions and the start of creating their work plan. The task force members were tasked with thinking about things that should be included in their work plan before their next meeting on July 5th.
Economic Development Committee
Wednesday I joined council members Smith and Robinson in a meeting of the Economic Development Committee. The meeting started with a discussion about restructuring the committee to allow more input from the citizen members. In addition, the committee agreed that adding two more citizen members would be beneficial.
The quarterly report from the Cary Chamber included the following information:
Advanced Manufacturing and a HealthCare Technology firm is expanding with an estimated capital investment of about $80 million. The number of new jobs is unknown currently.
There are three recruitment projects in the pipeline with the potential for 1105 jobs and $105 million in capital investment.
The product trend continues to be consistent over the past 12 months, mostly interest in the Industrial and Life Science space, with consultants and corporations looking for existing or shell buildings. There were a few a looking at build-to-suit opportunities averaging in size from 50,000 – 250, 000 square feet. Raw land request on average ranges from 20 – 40 acres, with some as much as 150 plus acres.
There are two separate development firms on large industrial / flex space type of product sets. The first is in west Cary with 15 acres and a planned building size of around 170,000 sq ft, of which can be 2 buildings, or one large building. The other is a large tract in northwest Cary near the airport. This tract is 142 acres and is planned to have just over 700,000 sq ft of flex/ industrial space. Both projects are estimated to have their site /development plans approved from the Town within the next 4-6 months.
Interest in the class A office market is starting to pick up somewhat, but based on office professionals, the office market will take more time before it comes back, and at what extent is still unknown. We have been working towards gaining interest in locating some of the smaller office projects into our new downtown development opportunities. Most office professionals seem to feel that it is estimated around 18 -24 months.
Under Old and New Business, the committee discussed remanent parcels around town and agreed that the town should consider purchasing some as open space.
The report from the Economic Development Director included a video concept of the “Center” sports and entertainment venue in South Hills. Staff continues to work with the landowners on an agreement.
In the committee’s general discussion, topics included the 30th anniversary of our sister city relationship with Hsinchu city, social districts, and how to market Cary’s people and talent. The meeting concluded after about an hour and a half.
Town Council Meeting
Thursday the council held its first regularly scheduled council meeting of the month. The meeting started with a reading of a proclamation recognizing the Cary Fire Department’s 100 years of service. I presented the proclamation to Battalion Chief Tracy Williams. Chief Mike Cooper also provided a few remarks. The public speaks out portion of the meeting had two speakers asking for gun reform due to gun violence across the United States. Unfortunately municipalities have very little authority when it comes to gun regulations. Our only public hearing was on the budget and there were no in-person speakers. After a brief closed session, the meeting was adjourned with a meeting time of about 45 minutes.
Weatherstone 5th Grader Recognition Ceremony
Friday I had the joy of being the Guest Speaker at the Weatherstone Elementary 5th Grade Recognition Ceremony. Here is an excerpt from my remarks:
“… I am so proud of you and what you have accomplished. When you were in the middle of 3rd grade, you had to suddenly move into remote learning, leaving behind your school, teachers, and friends. While you were able to see your friends and teachers on a computer screen is not the same as seeing them in person. So that had to be tough, but you stuck it out, you adapted, and you learned how to be flexible. Those are skills that will serve you well as you move through school and throughout your life.
A lot has changed since you first arrived at Weatherstone. And, as you might suspect, a lot has changed since I was in elementary school. In fact, I finished the 5th grade 55 years ago. It was very different back then:
There were no computers in houses. In fact there were very few computers in the world. And the computers that existed would take up an entire room.
There were no cell phones. In fact most families only had one phone in their house that was attached to a wire (called a land line today).
There were no smart watches. In fact, back then there were no digital watches. All watches did was tell time.
TVs were in a very big box and there was usually just one in a house. And they usually had antennas on top of the TV or on top of the house so that you could pick up a TV station.
In this area there were only 2 TV stations and they both shut off around midnight.
Usually families had just one car.
Milk used to be delivered to my house by a milkman.
The most popular music back then was by the Beatles. Many of you probably haven’t hear of them.
The president was Lyndon Johnson.
The US was fighting the Vietnam War.
The only high school in Cary was Cary High School and I believe the only elementary schools were Cary elementary and Kingswood.
This area has changed a lot. Raleigh back then was smaller than Cary is today.
Raleigh had a population of about 137,000 people 55 years ago. Cary has over 180,000 people today.
The world has changed a lot in the last 55 years and in my lifetime. And the world continues to change every day.
To be ready for that change we must always be learning, including myself. If we never stop learning, there is no telling what we can do. In fact, you may surprise yourself. I never planned to work with computers or be a mayor, but I was able to do that because I never stopped learning. And the adults in this room are the same. Their choices in their lives have a lot to do with what they learned. So if you want more choices in life you need to learn all you can.
So my message to you as you move into the sixth grade is to never stop learning. And if you only remember one thing that I say today remember this: Each and every one of you has gifts and talents. And those gifts and talents can help you succeed in whatever you pursue.
Before I close, I need to thank Principal Chadwick, Vice Principal Thomas, and all your phenomenal teachers and staff that work hard to encourage you and empower you. To the teachers, please know that you are a gift. Thank you! And thanks for dedicating your life to building our future. You have built a strong foundation with these students as they move forward in their education.
To the parents and guardians here today, to say the past few years have been difficult is an understatement. But you persevered. You navigated parenting, schooling, running a household, working, and many other things during this pandemic. I admire your dedication and unconditional love for your children.
And last, but not least, CONGRATULATIONS to our soon to be 6th graders—I am so proud of each of you! You have accomplished so much during your time at Weatherstone Elementary and I wish you luck as you continue your education journey towards graduating from high school as the class of 2029!”
After speaking the principal presented me with a T-shirt that included all the names of the 5th grade graduating class. How cool is that!
North Carolina Metro Mayors
Friday the North Carolina Metro Mayors met to get an update on the legislature. Here is a summary of legislative actions from KTS Strategies:
House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Chairs held closed-door meetings all week to work out their area-specific portions of the budget. House and Senate leadership have already reached an agreement on topline spending. We anticipate the chambers to reach a budget agreement within the next two weeks which would keep the legislature on track to conclude the short session by July 1.
The Senate gave final approval to S711, NC Compassionate Care Act. The legislation would legalize the use of medical marijuana for qualified patients with a debilitating medical condition. On Monday, the bill passed third reading on the Senate floor (36-7) with 1 Democrat and 6 Republicans voting against the measure. The bill has been sent to the House for consideration.
This week, the House passed S448, Amendments to Schedule VI of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). The bill would remove Marijuana and THC derived prescription drugs that have received approval from the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA), from Schedule VI of the CSA. The North Carolina Commission for Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services could submit objections to any decision that comes from the FDA. House proponents made it clear in their discussions this was not marijuana legalization and dealt with prescription drugs already approved by the FDA. The bill passed third reading in the House on Wednesday (92-9) and has been sent to the Governor.
On Tuesday, the House Banking Committee discussed H1039, Medical Debt De-Weaponization Act. Requested by the NC Department of State Treasurer, the bill would require hospitals and other large health care facilities and providers to disclose prices and financial assistance, provide minimum levels of free care, and prohibit certain collections practices. Facilities would have to adopt a written financial assistance policy (Medical Debt Mitigation Policy or MDMP) and provide free care for patients at 200 percent of the federal poverty level. The bill would give the Attorney General the authority of enforcement. No vote was taken on the legislation during the committee.
The House approved S671 this week. The proposed committee substitute (PCS) heard in the House Rules Committee would allow schools that provided full-time virtual instruction in the 2021-2022 school year to continue providing such instruction in the 2022-2023 school year and allow districts to opt for virtual learning days in the event of inclement weather. It would also authorize public school units to establish remote academies that meet certain requirements beginning in the 2023-2024 school year. The bill passed on the House floor Thursday with a vote of 73-22. It will be returned to the Senate for a concurrence vote.
Community Voice Tree Summit
Saturday I attended the Community Voice Tree Summit and provide remarks. There were 75 to 100 people in attendance. Here is an excerpt from my remarks:
“… Trees are a huge part of what makes Cary, Cary. Our trees shade us, feed us, clear our air and our water. In Cary 70% of the land is privately owned so our trees need our combined attention.
As you may know there have been tree plantings at town-owned sites to enhance our canopy such as those planted at Heater Park and Dorothy Park. Those plantings are to ensure we have a new generation of trees when the older trees mature and phase out. And that is our main focus, planning the next generation of Cary’s tree canopy.
We want to hear your thoughts, feedback, ideas and of course your questions. Everything expressed today will be considered as we create a plan to effectively manage the forest of our future here in Cary.
And while this plan will look out 10 years into our future, our trees will live and benefit our community well beyond that. So your ideas today will have a long impact. …”
I was in attendance for about an hour and a half.
Town Manager’s Report
The Town Manager’s Report for this week included the following:
Mayor and Council, I am pleased to confirm that Terry Sult has accepted our offer to serve as Cary’s fulltime Chief of Police, effective immediately. As you know, Terry has an extensive operation and administrative background, bringing with him not one but three tours as a police chief in three states. When we hired Terry 8 months ago as our interim chief, both he and we were certain that being interim would be the end of our relationship. But Terry found something in Cary he’d never seen before: our co-created culture, including your support, Council. Terry learned firsthand who we are and the remarkable community we serve, and so he asked to compete for the fulltime position. He wanted it so much that he’s coming out of retirement to have this experience, and we couldn’t be happier or more grateful. I want to thank Renee Poole and Russ Overton for leading our extensive search and evaluation efforts. I also want to thank the dozen+ staff from police and other departments as well as the citizens who participated in candidate evaluation. Please note, there won’t be a Council Weekly Report distributed next week. The next report will be shared on June 24.
In appreciation, Sean
May Quarterly Follow-Up
Following up on the environmental questions from the May quarterly, staff prepared two fact sheets and a recycling graphic. Details about the electric sanitation truck, including a comparation with the standard diesel truck, are available in the Electric Sanitation Truck Fact Sheet. Details about the compost produced from the food waste drop-off and distributed to Good Hope Farm are provided in the Food Waste Drop-off Fact Sheet . A draft version of a graphic regarding recycling has been prepared and is posted online here. The next recycling contract is scheduled for execution in early 2023 and updates to the graphic will be made at that time.
225 E. Park Street
Development Services has been in close contact with the demolition contractor for the house located on 225 E. Park Street. According to the demolition contractor, their plan is to demolish the house by the end of next week. Prior to beginning demolition of the house, the owner allowed the Police Department to use the house for training. The owner plans to rebuild on the property in the future.
Fire Celebrates 100th Anniversary
Fire celebrated its 100th anniversary this week beginning Friday evening by screening a movie on the lawn at the old library site with refreshments and family-friendly activities. A fire truck parade took place on Saturday followed by a street dance with a live band featuring a Fire retiree on bass guitar. Monday, all nine fire stations opened their doors for an open house that included station and apparatus tours, a new fire prevention video premiere, dinner cooked by the firefighters, and giveaways. At last night’s Council meeting, Mayor Weinbrecht shared a brief history of the Fire Department and presented a proclamation recognizing the 100th anniversary of Cary’s Fire Department. Battalion Chief Tracy Williams and Fire Chief Mike Cooper accepted the proclamation on behalf of the Department. A final commemorative event is scheduled for June 25 at Bond Park with apparatus displays, demonstrations, obstacle courses for kids and adults, a band, a DJ, food and beer trucks, and other activities.
First Meeting of the Human Relations, Inclusion, and Diversity Task Force
On Tuesday, members of the Human Relations, Inclusion, and Diversity Task Force gathered together for their first meeting as a Task Force. The group learned how and why the task force came to be, began getting to know each other, and discussed what they look forward to achieving as a Task Force.
Cary Launches EBike Pilot Program on Greenways
On June 1, Cary launched a pilot to allow electric assisted bicycles (EBikes) on Cary greenways. This pilot allows us to test, listen, and learn. We are specifically interested in hearing from greenway users and are encouraging them to submit feedback through a survey so staff can determine if changing local ordinances to allow the use of EBikes on our greenway system would benefit Cary posted on signs along greenways across Cary.
We simultaneously have increased our messaging regarding travelling at safe speeds along the greenways and observing the 15mph speed limit. Pavement stickers and signs are being added to the longer and higher volume greenways.
The pilot will continue through December 31. Survey results and additional research is expected to be compiled and presented to Council in late fall.
The Carolina Composting Council invited Cary to speak at its annual meeting. Staff shared the success of the Food Waste Drop Off pilot program and how it fits into the existing framework of Cary’s composting culture that spans decades of education and outreach. Cary was joined by Toward Zero Waste Cary who shared about the value of community partnerships and their role in supporting Cary’s waste diversion efforts. Also, staff toured New Hanover County’s compost facility to learn about the operations and its impact on waste diversion. The County uses an in-vessel composting system to turn municipal yard waste, commercial manure, and food waste from UNCW and a few commercial sites into compost that is available for free to residents. The tour was part of the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) Managing Composting Programs 3-day training.
The first of two Urban Forestry Master Plan outreach efforts launched recently with a tree workshop for Cary staff, area municipal experts, academics, and citizen representatives. The consultant, Urban Canopy Works, shared some technical results of their tree and canopy evaluation to date, and facilitated small group discussions that elicited ideas that will help inform the master plan. On June 11, the second outreach effort, the Community Voice Tree Summit, invites citizens at large to provide their feedback, ideas, and questions that will help inform the vision of Cary’s tree canopy.
Cary PD Cadets Graduate From the Police Academy
On June 9, three Cary Police Department (PD) cadets graduated from the police academy. Our cadets successfully completed 787 hours of intensive law enforcement training which includes topics and instructional methods required by the North Carolina Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission. Please join us in congratulating Justin Kosobucki, Devon Perillo, and Taylor Shealy on their completion of Wake Technical Community College’s Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) Academy.
Crabtree Creek and Black Creek Sewer Rehab Update
The first phase of the Crabtree Creek & Black Creek Sewer Rehabilitation Project is approaching completion with additional lining work, manhole rehabilitation, and cleanup/restoration activities planned for the next few weeks before reopening the Crabtree Trail. In the next phase, contractors will focus their efforts on rehabilitation of sewer lines along the Black Creek Greenway between West Dynasty Drive and North Cary Park, which will require a closure of this particular section. The remaining parts of Black Creek Greenway including those areas between North Cary Park and the Crabtree Creek Greenway will remain open during this next phase of the project. Beginning June 16, signs notifying residents of the upcoming closure of the Black Creek Greenway between West Dynasty Drive and North Cary Park, as well as the corresponding greenway detour route, will be installed along the trail and at trailhead locations in the area.
A complaint about the town not monitoring water leaks appropriately with AquaStar
A complaint about a traffic signal at Courland View and Mills Park Drive
Next week’s activities include staff meetings, a Cary Chamber golf event, a meeting of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Executive Board, Green Hope High School graduation, a meeting of the North Carolina Metro Mayors, and a memorial service for Fellas Bond.
Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Saturday, June 18th. 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.