Monday, October 15, 2012

October 2012

Sorry I haven’t blogged in a while; life has been busy. We also went on vacation – first one we’ve taken in years. We took the family and a few of their friends to Topsail beach. I didn’t turn on a computer, check email, text or voice messages for almost a week. It was nice.

We surfed fished, ate killer food (LOVE fresh flounder and swordfish!), played with the dogs (they love the big pond and chasing birds ;-) and just relaxed on the beach with a margarita or few. Good times. Now we just need a vacation to recuperate from our vacation ;-)

While the beach was nice, I’m glad to be home…until I checked email that is; 397 of them. Yay…;-) I’m caught up on most everything now except blogging so here we go!

Council Meeting – 10/11/12: Notable discussion items included the purchase and conveyance of property for economic development – downtown hotel, Bees, sound level increase for three shows at Koka Booth Amphitheater and electronic gaming.

Property buy and sell for ED – downtown hotel: This one’s kinda complicated, so I’ll do my best to keep it simple. The owners of the King’s Daughter’s Inn in Durham want to construct and operate a 46 room boutique hotel in downtown Cary at the corner of Park and Academy. We want them to do this as well. The town owns two of the three lots needed to construct the hotel and rehab two historic structures – the Waldo Rood House and the Mayton House.  We acquired the third lot and then sold all three lots to the owners of the hotel. They agree to construct and operate the hotel AND restore the two historic homes which will be incorporated into the project. The hotel will have a restaurant and bar and the “backyard” will be the downtown park.

A great example of a public/private partnership; we assist them them with financing the project (the town gets paid for the property at a rate of 6%) and they construct and operate a significant investment which will serve as a catalyst for our downtown revitalization efforts, generate tax revenue and create jobs.

The council also unanimously approved the bid award for the downtown Cary theater project.

While maybe not as sexy as chickens ;-) the council approved an ordinance allowing for the keeping of bees in Cary. Kinda similar to what we did for chickens – limits on # of hives, set-backs, stupid $50 fee, etc…

We also agreed to increase the sound levels FOR THREE EVENTS at Koka Booth Amphitheater for next season. The last sound level increase to 95 db last year seemed to work out ok and the thought is that by allowing three shows to go to 98 db might help us land even better acts and increase revenues and reduce taxpayer subsidy.

I had a great time meeting with Kingswood Elementary 3rd graders to talk about local government and more specifically, why government works better when multiple opinions are considered; “Why do we have seven members on the town council and not just one person calling all of the shots?” “Good question”, I said. “It would be so much simpler if the others just stayed home and let me handle everything” ;-) Kidding!....sort of…..;-)

The council held a worksession to discuss future traffic improvements at the intersection of Cary Parkway and High House. Yes, we’ve been working on this one for a while now. Staff presented additional options for improvements to include everything from turn lanes to three roundabouts – three lane roundabouts at that. The council agreed to direct staff to move forward with plans that include additional turn lanes and is sensitive to existing structures and landscaping.

We also held a session with board and commission members to receive their annual reports and say “thank you” for everything they do to make Cary an even better place to live. The manner in which the boards presented their reports was very creative and entertaining. The planning and zoning board, for example, decided to sing their report – I’ll leave it at that. ;-) Council members served as wait staff with each of us responsible for serving two tables. We all had a good time while learning about the work and accomplishments of all our boards and commissions.

Cary Community Investment Bonds: A number of folks have inquired about the bonds. I would encourage all of you to visit the Town’s bond website here to learn more about the three separate bond referendums that will be on this November’s ballot; fire, transportation and parks and recreation.

Bottom line is that all three bond referendums total $80 million. If approved by you, the voters, taxes will increase 2 cents in 2013 and 2 cents in 2015. If the referendum(s) fail, it is unlikely that any of the proposed projects will be completed in the next 3-5 years.

So again, please visit the bond website to learn more about the specific projects and financial impact to you, the taxpayer and please VOTE on November 6th.

I also wanted to comment on the firing of Wake County Public Schools Superintendent, Tony Tata. This was an epic failure of board leadership.

Superintendent Tata was removed from his post for doing nothing wrong other than having been hired by the previous school board majority. This was political payback. Tata is a leader who achieved a number of successes in a very short period of time; he brought calm to an angry and divided community, student achievement is up and he worked to improve special needs services just to name a few.

Superintendent Tata’s achievements in what could easily be described as a hostile environment earned him the respect and support of parents, students, teachers and community partners.

From the News and Observer: School board members Hill and Sutton stated the problems with Tata included his inability to bridge the partisan gap on the board. Are you kidding me? It is Tata’s fault that board members can’t put partisanship aside and work together??? Hill and Sutton (and all the board members for that matter) need look no further than a mirror to see what many of the board’s problems are.

I have yet to speak to any teachers or parents who are pleased with the decision. I have spoken with many who are angry – very angry. One teacher told me, and I quote,“No superintendent has done more for teachers and students in such a short amount of time than Superintendent Tata.”

Tata’s only fault that I can see is that he wasn’t a yes-man – something most folks look for in a leader. If we could afford it, our daughter would be in private school yesterday.

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