Sunday, June 13, 2010

Week in Review 6/7/10 - 6/12/10

Council held our final budget worksession on Tuesday. Staff provided clarification on a few items that council had requested at a previous worksession and we discussed a few outstanding issues before we approved bringing the budget to our council meeting for final discussion and vote on June 24th.

While our town staff has done an amazing job at crafting a very conservative budget that continues to maintain the high levels of service Cary citizens expect without increasing taxes, I am undecided at this time whether or not to support the proposed budget.

Appropriations exceed revenues by roughly $1 million. And although conservative budgeting, reducing last year’s budget 26% from the previous year and the postponement of $89 million in capital projects has allowed Cary to maintain a healthy fund balance to cover this, I am concerned how this may position the town in the years to come. I am not optimistic that the economy will rebound any time soon and I have concerns regarding the state’s financial situation, and how that will impact Cary.

North Carolina’s reliance on federal stimulus funds and “temporary” (ya right) tax increases combined with increases in spending will result in our state facing a $3 Billion hole next year when all that “free money” runs out. North Carolina is already withholding a number of funds from municipalities in an effort to balance their budget. What other revenues might they decide to withhold next? We must ensure we are prepared for the worst and pray it doesn’t happen.
I meet with the Town Manager on Monday to discuss my concerns further.

Council also held 3 closed sessions to discuss town employee performance reviews.

The agenda for this past Thursday’s council meeting was light in content – long in discussion. There were really only 2 notable items on the agenda – a public hearing on the proposed FY2011 budget, and a quasi-judicial hearing for a special use permit for a proposed cell tower installation. The hearing regarding the cell tower lasted 2 ½ hours. In the end, the council voted 7-0 to deny the special use permit.

This past Thursday and Friday I had the honor of attending the graduation ceremonies of Green Hope High School, Panther Creek High School, and Cary High School…or as Principal Thilman likes to say, “THE Cary High School”. ;-) Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht and WCPSS Vice-Chair Debra Goldman attended all three graduations as well. It was wonderful to see so many family friends receive their diplomas and hear the reactions from proud parents as their son or daughter’s name was called. Very few parents complied with the request to remain silent as each graduate’s name was announced. Five of our six children have graduated from Cary High School – we didn’t comply either. ;-)

As I sat on the stage staring out at hundreds of young adults wearing long gowns and funny hats I thought to myself, “In front of me sits our nation’s future doctors, scientists, engineers, lawyers, and service technicians. They are our future United States Servicemen and women who will defend our nation in time of need and fight for freedom around the globe. I saw future business executives who will lead fortune 500 companies and entrepreneurs whose innovative ideas will transform small businesses into large corporations. I was among the next generation of teachers and professors who will pass along to hundreds of other students the wisdom and knowledge which others had passed along to them. I saw our future police officers, firefighters and emergency medical service professionals who will protect us and rush to our aid at a moment’s notice. I even saw a few elected officials whose leadership will guide our state and our nation for years to come. I was looking at the future – and the future is bright. Congratulations Class of 2010!

On Saturday I attended Alex Joiner’s graduation party. Alex is a very bright and talented young man who will be attending UNC Chapel Hill this fall. He also happens to be the producer of two of my campaign for NC House’s YouTube videos. See? I told you he was talented. ;-) Afterwards I attended a campaign rally for 4th Congressional District Candidate BJ Lawson in Apex.

Well those are some of the highlights from this past week. As always, Thanks for reading!