Sunday, June 15, 2008

June 12, 2008 Council Meeting

Mayor Harold Weinbrecht was absent from our meeting Thursday evening due to a death in his family. Our thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family.

Mayor Pro Tem Julie Robison was tasked with running our council meeting, and I must say she did a great job. She even called me prior to our meeting just to check in and see if I had any concerns. I really appreciated that.

Cary received yet another award at our meeting – the 2008 Cary Chamber of Commerce Water Conservation Award. And while the town has been, and will continue to be a leader in the state regarding water conservation, it is really our citizens who deserve this award. It is through their sacrifices that we have been able to conserve as well as we have. Way to go Cary citizens!

One issue that received quite a bit of discussion was whether or not to construct a sidewalk on Rock Pointe Lane. Believe it or not this is a very complicated topic, and I will address this issue in greater detail with its own post.

Council also discussed whether or not we should join Climate Communities, a national advocacy organization seeking new federal resources (ie. millions of taxpayer dollars), tools and incentives to support local government action to combat climate change. I recommended the Town not join Climate Communities, and instead recommended we join ICLEI. ICLEI is an organization whose mission is build, serve, and drive a movement of local governments to advance reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and achieve tangible improvements in local sustainability. In other words, ICLEI helps local communities become more environmentally friendly through changes in development and operational practices – things that Cary can actually do. I am glad my council colleagues felt the same as I, and believed this to be a good compromise. It passed unanimously.

Council also extended our sheltering agreement with the SPCA for another 90 days until we decide whether or not we will continue to stay with the SPCA, or switch to Wake County. We also agreed to form an ad-hoc advisory committee to help us study and make recommendations on developing a spay/neuter ordinance. Personally, I prefer coming up with incentives instead of legislation to encourage folks to spay/neuter their pets, but I believe the goal of addressing the animal overpopulation issue to be an admirable one. It is always better to be proactive instead of reactive.

One thing that has really surprised me is the amount of citizen interest in both of these issues. So much so that I have had to create a new folder on my computer just to store all of the emails and information I have received on this topic (over 100 different emails and documents). To put this in perspective, I have received a grand total of 5 emails regarding the town’s budget and tax rate. Seriously.

Council also “officially” created two new advisory boards – a new environmental advisory board, and a citizen issue review commission. Appointments for the environmental board were postponed however since council has not had enough time to interview all the applicants who received votes from members of council. There has also been a little heartburn regarding one of the Mayor’s selections, but I will wait and allow the process to run its course before I decide whether or not publicly addressing the issue is warranted.

That's it on the council meeting, thanks for reading!