Sunday, July 12, 2009

Frantz News

Hello Cary! Sorry I have missed a couple of weeks posting – what with kids home from college, vacations and the July 4th holiday it’s been a bit busy lately and all my “non-council time” I have tried to spend with the family …and Mrs. Frantz finds the laptop in bed to be a turnoff. ;-) Hope everyone had a great 4th of July!


The last couple of weeks have been pretty busy to say the least, but all of us (me) here at Don Frantz’ Cary Town Council Journal are going to do our very best to bring YOU up to speed on the latest news and council decisions across our great town. What do have for us, Don?


Well, Don, clearly the big story as of late was the news that the council adopted the town’s FY2010 Budget at their last meeting. Some highlights from the adopted budget includes no tax increase from Cary’s 33 cent tax rate – the LOWEST of any municipality in Wake County, a 26% reduction in spending from the previous year’s budget, and a 62% reduction in the town’s capital improvement budget. The conservative budget adopted by council maintains Cary programs and will continue to provide the high level of services Cary citizens expect.


Wow, Don. It’s good to see Cary budget so conservatively. I hate to ask, but why such drastic cuts over the previous year?


Easy, Don. There isn’t any money. While the ailing economy is largely responsible, reduced revenue projections, and previous capital expenditures are also putting the squeeze on at town hall. Unlike our federal government, however, the council made the wise decision to not go further into debt financing non-essential capital projects, and instead did what most every family and business across the country has had to do – tighten our belts and live within our means.


That’s amazing, Don. But surely it can’t be all sunshine and rainbows, what’s the bad news?


Well, Don, the bad news is that Cary citizens will see a 8% increase in their water and sewer bills due to the costs associated with the new Western Wake Water Reclamation Facility.


And while small potatoes in the grand scheme of things, a big disappointment for us here at Don Frantz’ Cary Town Council Journal was that Cary EMS’ request for $5000.00 in financial assistance (a grant) was denied.


$5,000.00….You mean $50,000 right?


Nope - $5,000.00.


Well surely this was a requested increase over the previous year’s budget correct?


Nope, the Town of Cary doesn’t fund Cary EMS, Don. Cary EMS is funded by Wake County and private donations.


And the town couldn’t find $5,000.00 to help fund a vital public safety service when they financially assist so many other non-profit organizations?


Nope.


That’s amazing, Don.


Yes it is. While Don Frantz and Mayor Harold Weinbrecht supported Cary EMS’ request, the motion to include this expenditure in the FY2010 budget failed 5-2.


So sorry to hear that – but all in all a good budget wouldn’t ya say?


Absolutely, Don. We caught up with Cary Councilman Don Frantz after the council meeting and he had this to say. “While no budget is ever perfect, I am very pleased by the efforts of our town staff and budget department to bring council a conservative budget that focuses on maintaining the level of service and quality of life that Cary citizens expect and deserve while keeping taxes low.”


That sounds like a lot of political gobledegook to me, Don.


Yes it does, Don, but knowing Don like we know Don I am sure he means it. What else do you have for us, Don.


Well, Don, as you know about 3 weeks ago a tragedy occurred in Cary when 16 year old Kailee Birdsong lost her life in a hit and run vehicle collision at Green Level to Durham Road and Cary Glen Blvd. Police are still investigating and the search continues for the driver of what is believed to be a beige van or SUV. Anyone with information about the accident or the driver of the suspect vehicle should call the Cary Police Department at (919) 469-4012.


This surely was a sad day for Cary, Don. What is the town doing to make this intersection safer for motorists and pedestrians?


Well, Don, the town has been working diligently with NCDOT to study the intersection and come up with the best long term solution possible. We recently learned this intersection now meets DOT criteria for a traffic signal and that the town will install signalization within about 60 days. In the meantime through the use of traffic cones the town has limited lane widths to prevent multiple vehicles from lining up side by side creating site distance problems, and Cary has placed an electronic sentry device on GL2D Road to encourage drivers to obey the posted speed limit.


This is good news. But did I hear you correctly? The town will install the signal? I thought this was a state road?


It is a state road, Don, but the state is more broke than Cary. You want the traffic signal correct?


Of course, but…


Alright then.


As a parent of six children I cannot begin to imagine the pain and sorrow the Birdsong family must be going through right now. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Birdsong family and friends of Kailee. It is my sincere hope that the driver of the beige van/suv in question comes forward so that Cary PD can complete their investigation and the Birdsong family may find closure.


Cary also received more bad news this past week as we learned that Cary Mayor Harold Weinbecht’s mother past away. Please keep the Mayor and his family in your thoughts and prayers.


On to more local news – on Monday, June 29 the main baseball field at USA Baseball’s National Training Center here in Cary officially became Coleman Field – named after retired Cary Town Manager Bill Coleman.


Wow, Don – the home field of the US Olympic team named after one of Cary’s own – how cool is that?


Pretty cool, Don.


Pretty cool indeed. What did Bill Coleman think of it? He had to be stoked?


Pretty stoked, Don.


The highlight of the evening was when the council, members of the Cary Chamber of Commerce, and Bill Coleman all took the field for the ceremonial first pitch.


How was the pitch anyways? Did he get it over the plate?


Sure did – in fact it was probably the best first pitch this sports reporter has ever seen…except for maybe Don Frantz’ first pitch at last year’s USA Baseball vs. Chinese Taipai game. Now THAT had some heat on it, but Bill’s did have good movement.


Speaking of baseball, Don Frantz' Cary Town Council Journal has just learned from an anonymous source that Don Frantz and Mayor Harold Weinbreht were seen taping the July edition of Cary Matters together on June 24.


Well, yes. They did tape the July episode of Cary Matters together. What does that have to do with baseball?


Not a thing, but I needed a segway into the Cary Matters segment of the report. If citizens would like to learn more about what’s going on in or around Cary please check out Cary Matters on Cary TV Channel 11 this month. Don Frantz will be the good looking guy on the left. ;-)


In other news Don Frantz was seen meeting with Cary residents regarding their concerns over the proposed Dorothy Drive Park stream restoration/park enhancement project. We understand that he has presented their concerns to the appropriate town staff members who are in the process of addressing them. We’ll keep an eye on this one and keep our readers posted.


For an email traffic report, we now go live to traffic reporter Don Frantz. What do you have for us Don?


Well, Don, there was quite a bit of email traffic regarding a proposed rezoning of low density residential (LDR) neighborhoods in the town center area (downtown). What began as an attempt to help preserve and protect the character and charm of the Russell Hills neighborhood downtown has turned into a bit of a traffic jam. While support for a change in Russell Hill’s zoning appears to be moving right along, changes to the remaining LDR neighborhoods have encountered a detour as council members, after hearing from concerned residents over the proposed changes, appear to be shying away from such a broad brush approach. The character of Russell Hills is different from that of say, Hunter Street – They have different needs that probably aren’t served well by this change.


We also saw a lot of email traffic – rightfully so btw – pertaining to resident’s concerns over GL2D Road and Cary Glen Blvd, as well as the installation of a modular home whose appearance closely resembles that of a double-wide trailer in the Hillsdale Forest neighborhood. Back to you, Don.


Thanks, Don. On to politics. We now turn to Don Frantz’ Cary Town Council Journal Political analyst Don Frantz. Don, what do you have for us?


Well, Don. Campaign season 2009 is quickly approaching and DFCTCJ has learned that Cary Council Members Jennifer Robinson, Jack Smith, and Julie Robison, have all filed to run for reelection. The big story this fall however will be the school board races in what is sure to become a referendum on diversity vs neighborhood schools. Don’t buy the non-partisan election mumbo-jumbo here folks – this year’s school board elections will be very partisan I promise you. And while both sides will get dirty playing in the mud, in the end the candidate or party that does the best job at selling their message to the unaffiliated voter will decide this year’s winners. Back to you, Don.


Well that’s it for this edition of Don Frantz’ Cary Town Council Journal. Tune in next week as we’ll have an in depth report on the day in the life of a Cary Council Member, and we’ll investigate the allegations that Cary Council Member Don Frantz loves monsters.


Thanks for Reading!