Saturday, November 22, 2008

The 64 Million Dollar Question

There has been a lot of discussion lately regarding a request from WCPSS for Cary to waive a $1.4 million road improvement associated with the addition of mobile units (22 classrooms) at Panther Creek High School. What WCPSS fails to realize – even after meeting with our town staff - is that Cary can’t legally grant a waiver for roadway improvements. The improvements are required by law per our adequate public facilities ordinance for roads. Cary can’t break its own laws. Cary could decide to pay for the improvements ourselves – like we did with Alston Ridge earlier this year – but given the current economic climate, our budget is just as tight as everyone else’s. We simply don’t have the extra cash right now, nor do we desire to place this additional burden on the back of Cary taxpayers.

After explaining this to folks, their next question is, “What has Cary done for the school system over the years anyways?”


That’s right – since 2000 the Town of Cary has given $64 million to WCPSS in the form of cash, land, infrastructure, parks, shared facilities, etc...

Examples include:
$1,424,240 in assistance to purchase the land for Panther Creek High School
$5,229,600 in economic development assistance (cash paid to WCPSS)
$929,666 for Green Hope Elementary Park
$1,110,366 for Middle Creek Water Infrastructure
$2,067,323 in Middle Creek Street Infrastructure
$6,155,416 for School Resource Officers
$2,800,000 for 20 acres of land at the Hawes Tract donated to WCPSS for an elementary school
$886,544 for a collector road associated with the Hawes Tract
$1,350,000 for Roadway improvements associated with Alston Ridge
$185,110 in water infrastructure (water line) at Panther Creek
$620,550 for two ballfields, lights, and a comfort station at Davis Drive Middle

I could go on and on and on….But I think you get the picture. In fact, Cary has given more to WCPSS over the years than any other municipality in Wake County – including Raleigh.

We’ll probably be slammed for not granting the roadway improvement waiver request. The media loves to beat up on Cary for some reason (jealousy). The reality however is we have done more than our fair share. Maybe if other municipalities (cough… Raleigh…cough) were as generous over the years as Cary has been, WCPSS might have the money to pay for these improvements? Then again, I am sure I could find $1.4 million worth of cuts in WCPSS’s budget. Hint: it’s yellow.