Monday, June 28, 2010

Week in Review 6/20/10 - 6/25/10

This week was a bit light in regards to council responsibilities.

On Tuesday I met with our town Budget Director, Scott Fogleman to discuss a couple of outstanding concerns I had regarding the proposed FY 2011 budget.

I first want to thank all of our town staff - especially the budget department for all their hard work in presenting council with a very conservative budget that holds the line on taxes and keeps garbage, recycling, and yard waste fees unchanged. Water and sewer fees unfortunately will increase about 7% to fund the state-mandated Western Wake Water Reclamation Facility.

My concerns are that appropriations exceed projected revenues by roughly $1 million, and that council members decided to increase each council member’s travel allowance $326 a year (Mayor Pro Tem gets a $390 increase). Each council member’s annual travel allowance is already $9300 a year.

The FY 2011 budget was adopted as presented by a vote of 5-1. Mayor Pro Tem Julie Robison was absent again.

I voted against the budget.

After meeting with Scott Fogleman, some (not all) of my concerns pertaining to appropriations vs. revenues were satisfied. Cary has a healthy fund balance (reserves) and ended this past year with about a $4 million surplus. So while we are still in very good shape, I still have concerns about how reducing fund balance now might impact us in years to come should the economy not improve. I also have concerns how the state’s $3 billion shortfall next year will impact Cary’s budget in following years (see previous post for more on this)

I remain disappointed that during these tough economic times the council chose to increase their compensation. Yes I know that in the grand scheme of thing it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the total budget, but it’s much bigger than that to me. It’s about principle.

Council last received travel allowance increases in 2008 and 2006. The average fuel cost in 2008 was $3.27 a gallon with a peak price of $4.11. In 2010 the average cost of a gallon of gas is $2.76. Gas costs less now than it did in 2008.

This was about increasing compensation without calling it a raise. I could not support that. If the council believes they deserve an increase in pay – as evidenced by one of my colleague’s “we don’t even make minimum wage” comments at our meeting - then they should call it what it is.

That’s about all for this week. As always, thanks for reading - I hope everyone is staying cool and safe during this heat-wave.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

What an Honor!


June 24, 2010

CARY, N.C. – Frantz Automotive Center, the Triangle’s premier automotive repair and service center has been recognized as one of the Top 100 North Carolina Small Businesses for 2010 by Business Leader Magazine at an awards ceremony in Raleigh on June, 24.

“It is an extraordinary honor to be recognized as one of the top small businesses in North Carolina,” said Don Frantz. “We are especially grateful to all of our customers and employees who have contributed to our success.”

Frantz Automotive was ranked number 13 by Business Leader Magazine in its annual list of top 100 small businesses and was selected for demonstrating significant business achievement, community involvement and business advocacy.

About Frantz Automotive Center:
Located in downtown Cary, N.C., Frantz Automotive Center is a nationally recognized automotive repair and service center providing motorists and business fleets throughout the Triangle with a cost effective, reliable alternative to the automotive dealership. Locally owned and operated by Don and Lisa Frantz, Frantz Automotive Center is committed to making your automotive service experience as pleasurable and professional as possible. For more information please visit or call (919) 469-5423.

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!