Monday, May 30, 2011

May Update

Sorry I haven’t posted in a few weeks. Life has been very busy – and that’s a good thing.

I want to wish everyone a very happy Memorial Day. One can’t turn on the television or read the news without being reminded of how precious and rare the freedoms we enjoy really are. As you enjoy this weekend with family and friends, please take time to remember those patriots who paid the ultimate price so that you and I can live free. Freedom exists as long as there are those willing to stand together and fight for it.

I had the honor and privilege of attending the Town of Cary Firefighters Awards and Promotions Ceremony last week. I cannot begin to express my appreciation and support for all of our brave men and women in uniform for everything they do to help make Cary one of the safest communities in the nation to live. A number of awards were presented and I couldn’t help but feel a sense of pride listening to the stories behind the awards. Each response being recognized had a specific fire call designation number (Fire Call #2546 for example) yet not one of the awards was actually given to anyone responding to a fire. Every award recognized exemplary service in response to an accident, trauma or heart attack victim. Our firefighters are most often our first responders, and they respond to all life threatening medical emergencies. Congratulations to everyone recognized and thank you for your service to our community.

Council has held two budget worksessions and appears to have settled on the FY2012 budget. There will be a public hearing on June 16 prior to council decision on June 30. Some highlights include:

• Total Budget is about $222 Million – This is a 36% Decrease from the previous year.

• 27 new positions – includes 15 Firefighters and 10 Police Officers.

• $8 Million allocated for downtown initiatives/infrastructure

• $3.7 Million for WakeMed Soccer Park – the majority of which will be reimbursed to Cary via the interlocal hotel/meals tax revenue.

• No tax increase. Cary continues to have the lowest tax rate in the county

• A 5.9% increase in utility rates to help cover the costs associated with the state mandated Western Wake Regional Wastewater Management Facility and other utility system upgrades and maintenance.

• $2 Million for street and greenway repaving

You can view the proposed budget here: and feel free to email the council with any comments at .

Our council meeting was relatively short, with the notable decision item being the Town’s new redistricting map. The new plan was presented for public hearing at our May 12 meeting. No one spoke at the public hearing, and the council unanimously approved the new plan. I gotta pat us on the backs on this one; I am very proud of the council and how well we worked together on an issue that typically becomes a heated, partisan battle. We set clear criteria with predetermined goals, stuck to them and got the job done with no conflict.

Councilmember Portman was absent from the council meeting as he was attending a democrat party meeting where he was selected to replace resigning Wake County Commissioner, Stan Norwalk. Now I gotta admit it – if ya told me two years ago I would be a sad to Erv leave the council I might have laughed at you. But I am honestly a “little” disappointed to see him go ;-). Erv and I have worked well together over the last couple of years – especially on budget/development related items. As business owners, we share a number of real world experiences and try to bring our knowledge and talents to work for the town. I wish Erv the best on the County Commission. Cary’s loss is the county’s gain. I hope that he can remain on the council until July 1 (that start of our fiscal year) so that he can see our budget process through. It wouldn’t make much sense for him to go to the county commission and be expected to vote on a budget he is not familiar with.

I believe the council should and will fill this vacancy as soon as possible. Cary citizens deserve adequate representation. To leave the seat open demonstrates a lack of leadership, as evidenced by Morrisville’s decision to not fill the seat vacated by newly elected State Representative, Tom Murry. We are better than that.

Harold and I taped the June episode of CaryMatters this past week. The main topic is Cary’s FY2012 budget. You can watch CaryMatters, as well as other town meetings here.

I also had the pleasure of attending graduation ceremonies for Cary’s School of Government. This was a lot of fun as the topic for the last class was downtown – one of my favorite topics. The speaker for the evening was Cary’s Downtown Development Manager, Ed Gawf. Congratulations to all the graduates and thank you so much for caring enough to become more involved in your government! Our community is what we make of it – the more who get involved, the more our community reflects our desires. While there are a number of reasons that our community is one of the greatest places to live in America, none is greater than the citizens who live here, and give so much back to our town.

Another item I am sure a number of you have heard about is the proposed apartment complex at the corner of Tryon and Cary Parkway. I will speak more about this project later, but in the meantime I wanted to provide you with a couple of links so that you can learn more about the proposal.

Click here to be directed to the site opposing the project.

Click here to be directed to the project’s website.

That’s all for now. As always, thanks for reading!