Sunday, May 18, 2008

Week In Review 5/12/08 - 5/18/08

Monday started off with with a meeting between Town Manager Bill Coleman and myself. We mainly focused on questions I had regarding the proposed town budget, and specific capital expenditures such as the downtown streetscape project and the Cary Elementary renovations, and their potential impact on the town's future tax rate. While Bill and I have a scheduled meeting once a month, I find myself needing to meet with him much more often than that. His door is always open and I really appreciate his willingness to discuss whatever questions or concerns I may have.

Tuesday evening was our first budget worksession of many to come, as well as a discussion and action on the town's Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) fund distributions. The CDBG discussion was a very positive one. In the end council decided to move funds from a project that was not yet ready to begin, and instead decided to allocate those funds towards more housing rehabilitation and the Carying Place. There is already a lot of "affordable housing" in the downtown area; that with a little help could make great starter homes, or affordable housing for seniors and those with fixed/low incomes.

I found the budget part of the worksession very frustrating however. The town's budget department and key members of town staff had already held small group meetings with council members to explain exactly how the town arrived at a recommendation of 33 cents as our new tax rate after revaluation. Yet we spent the better part of our worksession going over this same data once again - which quite frankly in my opinion was a waste of time due to the fact that even if the town does not spend a dime on any capital expenditures next year, our tax rate will most likely have to increase to cover debt service. Previous councils have authorized a number of capital improvements/projects in the past - some at the will of voters in bond referendums - and those bills are coming due. I can't believe I am saying this, but wouldn't it be better to find out what THAT rate will need to be, and adjust our tax rate accordingly now instead of later to avoid a spike in the tax rate in the next year or two?

Wednesday evening was our Planning and Development Committee meeting. Nothing terribly exciting there except directing staff to move forward with a concept plan and associated public hearing regarding a railroad closing/opening. I would prefer to hear the citizen's input on this before council spends too much time on it - we can learn so much by listening to those most directly impacted by this proposal. See here for more info.

Thursday My wife Lisa and I attended the Cary Chamber of Commerce's Small Business Awards Luncheon. While I already blogged this in an earlier post......FRANTZ AUTOMOTIVE WON SMALL BUSINESS OF THE YEAR!!!!! (sorry, had to toot the horn again) ;-)

Thursday night I had ASE testing to renew my Master Automobile Technician Certification status. Six recertification tests and four new tests. 350 questions in all. Man I don't miss being in school anymore. ;-)

Sunday (today) I had the honor of representing the Friends of the Page Walker Hotel at the Capital Area Preservation's annual celebration. The Page Walker Hotel received a new plaque recognizing the hotel as an historic landmark. Today is also my birthday, and I couldn't think of a better gift to receive. Wake County Commissioner Joe Bryan and former Cary Councilor Marla Dorrell were also in attendance, as were a host of "friends" of the Page Walker.

Well, that's it for now. Thanks for reading!