Mayor Harold Weinbrecht publishes his weekly blog post on his personal blog (mayorweinbrecht.com), sharing his thoughts and updates on local news and events in Cary, NC. The Cary Report, with permission from the town, will be re-publishing the Mayor’s blog as they are posted each Sunday. The following is the latest from Mayor Harold Weinbrecht.
Cary Chamber 2023 Education Event
Monday I participated in the Cary Chamber’s Education Golf event held at MacGregor Downs Country Club. Proceeds from the tournament benefit Educational Programs including Honor A Teacher and First Year Teacher awards. My group was council member Jack Smith and two members from the business community. We had a great time, and it was for a great cause.
Atlantic Tire Tennis Championships Board Meeting
Monday night I met with the Atlantic Tire Tennis Championship board to discuss the professional tournament that just completed and the one coming up on September 10th. The tournament that just completed had 2,756 attendees, 138 volunteers, 120 ball persons, with $2817 in concession sales. That is not bad considering this was an ATP tournament we agreed to hold in addition to the normal tournament we hold every September. Our tournament starting on September 10th will include the Cary Chamber After Hours with the USTA Immediate Past President Mike McNulty. Can’t Wait!
Candidate Taping for Cary TV
Tuesday I gave my presentation for Cary TV as a candidate for mayor. I decided to do this even though I am unopposed because I wanted voters to know the importance of keeping Cary apolitical. Here are the remarks I spoke from:
“My name is Harold Weinbrecht, and it has been an honor for me to serve as your mayor for the past 16 years. This election cycle I am running unopposed so I would like to take this opportunity to talk about Cary, my colleagues, and highlight the potential danger that threatens Cary’s success.
During my terms as mayor, we have seen Cary become one of the most desirable places to in the country live, work, play, and run a business in the country, all while having the lowest tax rate in Wake County. Cary today is diverse, well educated, environmentally friendly and economically strong and it is my goal to make it even better.
But can’t do it alone. It takes a great nonpartisan council.
Like council member Ryan Eades, who is running in District D. He is fighting hard to make sure district D and western Cary gets the roads, parks, and other resources it needs all while protecting the environment.
And Mayor Pro-Tem Frantz, who was flagbearer for downtown redevelopment. With his leadership we are seeing the citizens’ vision being implemented today.
And council member Lori Bush who is on a mission to create affordable housing in Cary.
As great as Cary is it can change in one election. If partisan politics makes its way into Cary government, we will see divisiveness and gridlock that plagues our state and national government today. And there are partisan candidates in this election! For Cary to continue to be a strong community well into the future we will need a strong, nonpartisan council.
I urge you to research the candidates before you vote on October 10thand keep partisan politics out of Cary. Thank you for voting and thanks for calling Cary home.”
My delivery of this message was not as clean as my usual talks, but it was quickly written and not rehearsed. Again, the main purpose was to get the message out about the potential danger of partisan politics in Cary.
I have a standing practice that I endorse incumbents but support all candidates.
Wednesday I was sent misinformation being spread by a candidate which is misleading and can have harmful long-term consequences. The candidate said:
“And when people say that schools aren’t a concern for Town Hall – I will say that the decisions the Council makes on zoning and growth directly impacts our schools. …”
There are several misleading implications with this statement. Let try and address some of these:
Schools and Relationship
While the building and operating of schools is the responsibility of the county, Cary partners with the school system in many ways to help. We build roads and sidewalks for them and provide school resource officers at Cary taxpayer expense. We build and share ballfields with them (Mills Park) or build and share community centers with them (Middle Creek). In fact, we bought and saved land for parks, infrastructure, and schools (Mills Park).
Schools are and should be planned based on land use. That information is provided to the county and the school board years in advance of anything being rezoned and built to allow the schools to plan accordingly. Cary’s land use plan is part of the Cary Community Plan which was created by Cary citizens and approved by the council in 2017. It is currently being reviewed for updates.
School overcrowding is simply a lack of funding, not lack of planning. Land values in the county have skyrocketed and so have construction costs. In addition, the school board’s plans must be funded by the county commissioners. It is a mother-may-I situation. County Commissioners are playing catch up and have significantly raised your taxes this year as a result.
Are we in communication with the schools? Absolutely, and have been for decades. To imply that we are creating problems for schools and not communicating with them is very misleading.
Building and Zoning
For anything to be built in Cary it must fit with the Cary Community Plan and have a zoning that matches the plan. If a proposal is reviewed by staff, the advisory board, and the council and is said to match the plan and the rezoning proposal is denied then there is danger of litigation. A denied zoning proposal can be reapplied in one year unless an exception is granted by the council. It should be noted that the population in this region will likely double in the next few decades, so thinking that denying a zoning for a future lower density is unlikely. In summary, the old cliché “be careful what you ask for” comes to mind. The council can deny a rezoning, but it could be something much denser in the future. Does that mean every rezoning should be approved? Of course not. But you should approach every proposal as to what is the best it can be, does it meet the Cary Community Plan, and is it the best use of the land.
It is concerning that this candidate does not possess the knowledge to understand what is going on with schools and how to address the problem. Please know that I will continue to address additional campaign misinformation as I receive it.
As a reminder, I am endorsing incumbents but will help all candidates.
Wednesday afternoon I participated in the meeting of CAMPO’s (Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s) Executive Board.
The agenda had 5 consent items which included: the 2025 – 2030 Wake Transit Bus Plan, FY 2023 Period of Performance Extension Requests, CAMPO Personnel Policy, Resolutions of Support for US 1A Designation Removal and US 70 Rerouting, and Locally Administered Projects Program Additional Funding Request. All items were approved unanimously without discussion.
There were four public hearings on the agenda which included: Update to the CAMPO Public Participation, Title VI, and Limited English Proficiency Plans, Locally Administered Projects Program (LAPP) FFY2025 Proposed Changes and Target Modal Mix, 2050 Metropolitan Transportation Plan Amendment Air Quality Conformity Determination Triangle Regional Model Update, and FY 2024-2033 Transportation Improvement Program. All public hearings were held with no speakers and items were approved unanimously.
The regular agenda included four items for information. The items discussed were FY 24 UPWP – Amendment #1, Amendment #13 to FY2020-2029 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), Prioritization 7.0 Modal Candidate Project Lists, and the 2020 Urbanized Area and MPO Boundary Update.
One thing to note from the meeting is that demand for funding in our region far exceeds state’s ability to fund transportation projects for the next decade and beyond. It appears to me that the legislature will need to make decisions to help solve this lack of funding. One quote from the meeting sums it up: “I don’t believe division 5 even has enough money to fill potholes.”
The meeting concluded after a little over an hour.
District 16 Update from Senator Adcock
Thursday morning I received a district update from Senator Gale Adcock. The following is an excerpt from her update:
NC prepares to implement Voter ID
Beginning with 2023 fall municipal elections, North Carolinians will be required to present photo identification to vote.
Acceptable Photo IDs for Voting
Any of the following that is unexpired, or expired for one year or less:
- North Carolina driver’s license
- State ID from the NCDMV (also called “non-operator ID”)
- Driver’s license or non-driver ID from another state, District of Columbia or U.S. territory (only if voter registered in North Carolina within 90 days of the election)
- U.S. Passport or U.S. Passport card
- North Carolina voter photo ID card issued by a county board of elections
- College or university student ID approved by the State Board of Elections
- State or local government or charter school employee ID approved by the State Board of Elections
Note: A voter 65 or older may use an expired form of acceptable ID if the ID was unexpired on their 65th birthday.
Any of the following, regardless of whether the ID contains an expiration or issuance date:
- Military or veterans ID card issued by the U.S. government.
- Tribal enrollment card issued by a tribe recognized by the State or federal government.
- ID card issued by an agency of the U.S. government or the State of North Carolina for a public assistance program.
How to get a free ID
Registered voters without one of these forms of ID can get a free ID used for voting from their county board of elections. Free IDs are available during county boards’ regular business hours. Voters provide their name, date of birth, the last four digits of their Social Security number and have their photo taken. Most counties will provide the ID on the spot; a few will need to mail it to the individual’s address. The IDs are valid for 10 years.
The State Board has created rules for the implementation of voter ID and has requested funds from the legislature to train poll workers and inform voters of the change.
Help with student loan debt
If you or someone you know has a legal concern about student loan debt, the Economic Justice Clinic at the University of North Carolina School of Law is currently accepting new clients for the 2023-24 academic year.
The clinic represents student borrowers by filing applications for loan discharge through the Department of Education’s programs, including Total and Permanent Disability Discharge, Closed School Discharge, and Borrower Defense to Repayment; negotiating with a loan servicer to accurately calculate a borrower’s debt; counseling clients on repayment options, discharge options, and refinance options; and suing a college or institution for misrepresentation or fraud. There is no cost to the client.
Clinic clients are represented by third-year law students under the guidance of a full-time faculty member who is also a member of the North Carolina Bar. To be eligible for this free representation, a potential client must live in North Carolina, agree to be represented by law students, and be in a financial situation where they would not otherwise be able to afford private legal representation. Ideally the client would be within driving distance of the law school in Chapel Hill.
Use this link to apply. The information will be forwarded to the Director of the Clinic and someone from UNC Law will be in touch with you. While the clinic cannot guarantee legal help, it hopes to make a difference for North Carolinians struggling with student debt.
Morrisville earns its reputation for world-class cricket
Morrisville made cricket history once again as one of only two US host destinations for the inaugural season of the Major League Cricket professional franchise. The new league is comprised of many of the world’s top players who compete on six teams. All seven games held at Church Street Park during July 20-25 were sold out. Learn more about Morrisville’s growing and unique place in cricket.
Apex Community Police Academy
This innovative 10-week program by the Apex Police Department is accepting applications through August 18. Learn more here.
Downtown Cary Park Opens November 19
Read updates on the latest park developments in the Downtown Cary Park Newsletter.
We are so blessed to have former Cary Mayor Pro-Tem Adcock serving Cary and surrounding communities.
North Carolina Metro Mayors
Friday the North Carolina Metro Mayors met to hear a summary of legislative actions. Here is a summary from KTS Strategies:
After nearly six weeks, legislators returned to Raleigh this week to conduct business. The House held committee meetings Tuesday and Wednesday. Both chambers took floor votes on Wednesday including veto override votes. A budget has still not been finalized. Legislators will continue to negotiate behind closed doors over the next couple of weeks to discuss outstanding items. Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) said earlier this week a budget vote may not take place until mid-September. We anticipate little legislative activity over the next couple of weeks and may not see any more floor votes or substantive committee work until after Labor Day.
A proposed committee substitute (PCS) for S747, Elections Law Changes, moved through the House this week. The PCS would require absentee ballots to be received by 7:30 PM on Election Day, prohibit private money from elections administration, and give more freedom to poll observers for watching the voting process. Unlike the original Senate bill, the House version removed a two-factor authentication requirement for absentee ballots and allows a retrievable ballot to be cast for same-day registration voters instead of a provisional ballot. The PCS also changed the implementation of a signature verification requirement for mail-in absentee ballots to a ten-county pilot program. The bill passed the House Election Law and Campaign Finance Reform Committee and the House Rules Committee on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively. Eighteen amendments were offered on the House floor with only two adopted. The bill passed third reading in the House along party lines (69-47). The Senate voted to concur with the House changes with a vote of 27-18. The bill has been sent to Governor Cooper. We anticipate he will veto the measure.
The House and Senate voted to override six of Governor Cooper’s vetoes. No Senate Democrats voted in favor of an override for any of the six bills. However, five out of the six bills received marginal support from House Democrats except for S49. Below are the bills that were overridden. All are now Session Law.
- H219, Charter School Omnibus – This bill makes various changes to charter school laws including removing growth restrictions and allowing county property taxes to fund charter school capital needs.
- H488, Code Council Reorganization and Various Code Amendments – This bill would reorganize the North Carolina Building Code Council to create a new Residential Code Council and would make various changes to the North Carolina State Building Code provisions, land development regulations, and General Contractor licensing laws.
- H574, Fairness in Women’s Sports Act – This bill would prohibit biological males from competing on women’s sports teams.
- H618, Charter School Review Board – This bill would convert the Charter Schools Advisory Board into the Charter Schools Review Board and shift the authority to approve charters from the State Board of Education to the Review Board.
- H808, Gender Transition/Minors – This bill would prohibit medical professionals from performing surgical gender transition procedures on minors and from prescribing, providing, or dispensing puberty-blocking drugs or cross-sex hormones to minors.
- S49, – This bill would require public schools to provide parents with information regarding their student’s education, as well as provide them with notifications about the student’s physical and mental health. The bill would also require health care practitioners to obtain written consent from the parent of a minor child before providing treatment and would prohibit instruction on gender identity or sexuality in the curriculum of students from kindergarten to fourth grade.
India Independence Day
Saturday I joined several elected officials and hundreds of people at the HSNC temple in Morrisville to celebrate India Independence Day.
Some of the elected officials included the Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, State Senators Jay Chaudhuri and Gale Adcock, Morrisville Mayor TJ Cawley, Cary Council members Robinson, Bush, Eades, Johnson, several Morrisville council members, several Apex council members, NC representatives, and others. The event started with a parade on the HSNC site followed by a flag unveiling ceremony. Afterwards everyone headed to the fellowship hall for entertainment, speeches, and food. The Indian American community is a significant part of Cary, Morrisville, and the region and we embrace their culture and friendship.
Town Manager’s Report
As the summer student internship cycle draws to a close, I spent time today reflecting on the value added by those individuals who contributed to our organization during their short time. We are lucky for the interns’ fresh perspectives to our daily work, and I am grateful they chose Cary and wish them well in the new semester.
I look forward to seeing each of you at our only regular meeting in August on Thursday.
Enjoy your weekend,
Atlantic Tire Championships August 6 – 13
The Cary Tennis Park hosted the Atlantic Tire Championships August 6-13. This Men’s Professional Challenger 75 tennis tournament awarded $80,000 in prize money. The event had over 3,000 in attendance throughout the week. In singles, Adam Walton (AUS) defeated Nicolas Moreno De Alboran (USA) 6-4, 3-6, 7-5. In doubles, Evan King (USA) and Reese Stalder (USA) defeated Mikelis Libietis (LAT) and Adam Walton (AUS) 6-3; 7-6 (4). This was the first Atlantic Tire Championships of the Summer Series. The second Atlantic Tire Championships will be hosted September 10-17.
General Assembly: Bill Updates
On Wednesday, the Governor’s vetoes of several bills were overridden by the legislature, including his veto of H488 “Building Code Council Reorganization, Creation of the Residential Code Council, and Clarify Statutory References to the North Carolina State Building Code.” This bill amends laws and regulations regarding the State Building Code; pavement design standards; and stormwater control devices. This attachment briefly describes some of the aspects of the legislation. Please contact Shelley Curran or Lisa Glover if you have questions.
Introducing Lead for NC Fellow Adrienne Stacy
Cary is proud to host an NC AmeriCorps Lead Fellow, a program focused on developing local government leaders in the state. Adrienne Stacy, a recent graduate of NC Central in Political Science, will be part of Cary’s team for the next year. During her time with Cary, she will work on multiple projects across the organization.
Welcome Home K9 Officer Dakota
The Police Department produced a video on K9 Officer Dakota’s recovery. Thank you to the community for the support and standing with us on this journey.
Monthly Finance Session
Staff from across the organization took part in the first Finance Summer Session. Sessions will be held monthly through November and are designed to provide staff with a better understanding of the factors that drive financial decision making. Dr. Bill Rivenbark from the UNC School of Government led the first session which focused on key metrics and policies to assess a locality’s financial health. Future sessions will focus on capital financing, debt planning and the impact of the economy on local government finances.
Popsicles, Playtime, and Pups
This end-of-summer event was filled with games, crafts, bubbles, and dog fun! It was a hot day with temperatures in the 90s, but that didn’t stop close to 250 humans and 60+ canines from having fun in the sun. The Pup Parade started the event in honor of NC Year of the Trail. Pups donned their costumes and paraded around the sprayground sidewalk. Then kids and adults enjoyed the activities, cooled off in the sprayground, and enjoyed ice-cold POPSICLES!
Six Firefighters from “Hybrid” Academy Begin Shift Work
Fire is conducting a “hybrid” recruit academy for the second year in a row. Excellent candidates are hired without certification requirements, and if enough have their needed fire, EMT, and rescue certifications, they undergo an accelerated orientation and training process while the rest go through the full academy. This method takes a lot of coordination, but it helps to satisfy immediate staffing needs while ensuring a diverse and well-trained future workforce. Academy 27, which began in May, held a celebratory lunch Friday for firefighters Kendrick Campbell, Dylan Groeger, Justin Green, Travon McNair, Robert Morrison, and Tevin West, who reported to their shift assignments beginning Sunday. A graduation ceremony for the whole recruit class is expected to occur toward the end of the year.
Sustainable Fleet Technology Conference
This week several staff members attended the Sustainable Fleet Technology Conference in Raleigh. The conference provided many educational sessions focused on alternative fueling solutions, EV charging infrastructure, and success stories from some industry leaders. During the event, Cary’s fleet was recognized as one of the top 50 green fleets in the country for the third consecutive year. Cary also had two vehicles showcased in the event, a fire apparatus complete with idle reduction technology and our Tesla police vehicle. Both vehicles were requested to display Cary’s innovative thinking and commitment to sustainability technology.
Community Garden Gatherings
Garden Open House events at the Carpenter Park Community Garden continue to attract guests of all ages. These monthly gatherings provide hands-on environmental education opportunities and a chance to chat with Environmental Outreach staff about Cary sustainability initiatives such as Count Me In Cary, Solarize The Triangle, and our upcoming Dig In and Grow Green campaign.
Summer Produce Program Stats from Good Hope Farm
Good Hope Farm’s annual produce pickup program wrapped up after eight weeks of distribution. Through this Community Supported Agriculture program (CSA), twenty-five families enjoyed a total of 200 installments. At the same time, our nonprofit partner, Dorcas Ministries Food Pantry, distributed 112 pounds of fresh vegetables to community members facing food insecurity. Those who missed the CSA signup can still purchase produce from Good Hope Farm via individual pop-up farmers markets onsite or by visiting a Harvest Fest event this fall.
September Virtual Neighborhood Rezoning Meeting
The Neighborhood Meeting will be held virtually on WebEx from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm. The following cases will be discussed on September 6:
- 23-REZ-09 Sri Venkateswara Temple Parking Rezoning
- 23-REZ-11 Piney Plains Rezoning
- 23-REZ-12 Waverly Place PDP Rezoning
For more information and to register visit the Virtual Neighborhood Rezoning Meeting.
Cary-Apex Water Treatment Facility 30thAnniversary
This week marks a very special milestone in Cary’s history with the 30th anniversary of the Cary-Apex Water Treatment Facility. The facility opened in 1993, providing 12 million gallons of water daily to our service area. Since then, the facility has seen multiple expansions to accommodate the area’s growth, with the most recent bringing the capacity up to 56 million gallons a day. Over the years, the facility staff has constantly worked to optimize and improve the treatment processes to exceed regulatory requirements and provide high-quality drinking water to our citizens. These efforts have been recognized with multiple state and national level awards. Several staff members at the CAWTF have been working there since day one, and their wealth of knowledge and history has been instrumental in making it such a success.
Monday, Aug. 21 at
Thursday, Aug. 24 at
- Thanks for the Atlantic Tire Tennis Championships.
- A complaint about grass around library due to construction.
- Several emails about preventing crime in a Regency neighborhood.
- A request to participate in the Diwali lamp lighting ceremony.
Next week’s activities include staff meetings, a CAMPO Regional Rail Subcommittee meeting, a Wake County Mayors Association meeting, a tour of the downtown park, the Cary Chamber Eye Opener for Council Candidates, a Lazy Daze reception with Sister cities, the only regularly scheduled council meeting of August, a NC Metro Mayors meeting, and the opening of Lazy Daze.
Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Saturday, August 26th, 2023. Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communication with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org and email personal comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.