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.
Last Week’s Charity Run
As I mentioned in last week’s post, I ran a cross country 5K for Charity. I received results this week and found that I finished 4th in my age group which was surprising to me since I run about once a month. (I used to run a lot more, but aging knees prevent me from frequent runs.) I was glad to participate in that event with my daughter and my son-in-law who still serves in the reserves. Thanks to him and all those who serve our country.
Week in Austin
This week was mostly spent in Austin, Texas at the ICMA (International City/Council Management Association) conference as part of my consulting job. My job was to talk with management from all over the country (and world) about managing resources such as water, wastewater, sidewalks, pavement, facilities, etc. I had a great time seeing representatives from Cary at the event. It was a great week of learning about the latest technologies, software, and strategies.
NC Metro Mayors
The North Carolina Metro Mayors met Friday to get a summary of legislative actions. Here is a report from KTS Strategies on those actions:
N.C. Congressman Patrick McHenry Becomes Interim Speaker of U.S. House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives voted to oust Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-California) by a vote of 216-210 on Tuesday evening. All House Democrats and eight Republicans voted to approve the measure. This marks the first time in our nation’s history that the House has voted to remove its speaker. When taking office, every speaker creates a list of successions that is shared with the Clerk of the House in the event they vacate the position. Representative Patrick McHenry (R-North Carolina) was at the top of McCarthy’s list and became speaker pro tempore, or interim speaker, immediately following the vote Tuesday. McHenry is serving his tenth term as representative for North Carolina’s 10th Congressional District, a position he has held since 2004. He has not announced if he will join the race for the next speaker. The election to replace McCarthy has been scheduled for Wednesday, October 11th.
Budget Becomes Law
On Tuesday, the state budget officially became law without Governor Roy Cooper’s signature. H259, now Session Law 2023-134, is a $30 billion spending plan that includes 7% teacher pay raises, income tax rate reduction to 3.99% by 2025, $2 billion investment in water and sewer infrastructure, major expansion of private school vouchers, and enactment of Medicaid Expansion. This budget will cover the 2023-2025 fiscal biennium. Now that the budget has become law, the Office of State Budget and Management (OSBM) will certify each agency’s budget in accordance with the appropriations act. State agencies will then begin operating under the new spending plan.
This week, Governor Roy Cooper vetoed the following two pieces of legislation.
- H600, Regulatory Reform Act of 2023- This bill would amend various laws related to state and local government, agriculture, energy, environment, natural resources, and other regulations. H600 has been added to the House calendar for a veto override vote next Tuesday, October 10th.
- S678, Clean Energy/Other Changes- This bill would change references among state statutes from “renewable energy” to “clean energy.” It would also change the definition of “renewable energy resource” to include nuclear resources and fusion energy, among other changes.
Governor Cooper has vetoed 19 bills in total this session. To date, the General Assembly has voted to override 14 of those vetoes.
Friday evening I joined Mayor Gilbert of Apex to kick off Oktoberfest. This event was put on by Cary MacGregor and Apex Sunshine Rotaries. Mayor Gilbert and I joined others in making remarks before I tapped the first keg of beer which signaled the start. This event not only celebrated the German culture but raised money for a good cause. The Rotaries designated the Meg’s Smile Foundation as their main beneficiary and charity partner. Their mission is to bring smiles to the faces of children affected by serious illness and their families while they are going through what can be a very long and emotional journey. To find out more visit www.megsmile.org.
Town Manager’s Report
It’s great to be back in Cary! The mayor, staff, and I had an amazing time at the 2023 ICMA Annual Conference in Austin, Texas. We connected with fellow city/county government representatives from all over the country and even ran into some familiar faces from our own region.
As you’ll see in the updates below, it was a busy week in Cary.
I hope you enjoy your weekend.
Farm to Fork Celebration
The annual Farm to Fork Dinner and Celebration was a sold-out event that attracted 150 guests to Good Hope Farm including Councilmembers Lori Bush and Carissa Kohn-Johnson. Honoring the project’s seventh year of agricultural operations and farmer education, the green gala included farm tours, live music, and a delicious meal harvested fresh from the farm. This unique event celebrates Cary’s agricultural heritage while inspiring guests to join us in building a sustainable future through local food and regenerative agriculture.
Cary Citizenship Scouting Event
Last week, 50 local scouts and a dozen adult leaders attended the Cary Citizenship in the Community Merit Badge Event – an event designed to help scouts complete requirements to earn the Citizenship in the Community merit badge, which is a requirement for scouts interested in earning the Eagle Scout rank. Activities focused on what it means to be a good citizen, the rights and duties that come with citizenship, thinking about services funded by our taxes, and understanding the organization of Cary’s local government. Scouts enjoyed a pizza dinner including a visit and message from Councilmember Jennifer Robinson. Special thanks to staff from various departments who volunteered their time to make this two-day event a success for the scouts.
2023 Municipal Election
As of Thursday, October 5, over 4,000 Cary voters have shown up to vote early in Cary’s 2023 Municipal Election for the Mayor, District B, District D, and an At-Large seat. Following Early Voting, Election Day is on Tuesday, October 10. To look up your Election Day polling place, go to https://vt.ncsbe.gov/reglkup/. For detailed information about the photo ID requirement, go to ncsbe.gov/voter-ID.
Public Safety Honored by Heart of Cary Association
To commemorate First Responders Day, which is October 28, the Heart of Cary Association honored first responders Thursday at The Matthews House with breakfast and generously donated thank you notes and assorted other tokens of appreciation. Fire Chief Mike Cooper and Police Chief Terry Sult both spoke, giving an update on Downtown Cary and answering questions on such topics as safety and parking downtown. State Representative Maria Cervania and Councilmembers Lori Bush, Carissa Kohn-Johnson, and Ryan Eades were in attendance, with Councilmembers Bush and Kohn-Johnson issuing a proclamation.
Well planned parking management is an essential component of downtown living, working, playing and visiting in Cary. Whether parking is looked at from a business owner, resident, visitor, or municipal employee perspective, proper parking management is crucial to ensure smooth traffic flows, safety, capacity, and accessibility. In March 2022, Walker Consultants created a Downtown Strategic Parking and Mobility Plan for Cary that identified next steps and timing for implementation of various policy, planning, management, and organizational changes necessary to ensure that Cary’s public parking system contributes to the current and future successful growth of downtown Cary. On Thursday staff and parking partners engaged in a Parking Summit to reflect on the history of parking in Cary, recommendations from the plan and engage in a prioritization exercise on the recommendations. This was an excellent kick-off to lots of parking centric work for years to come.
Matt Pentz Recognized as Local Government Fellow
Last week at the annual conference of the International Municipal Lawyers Association, Matt Pentz was recognized as a “Local Government Fellow.” The Fellows program was established in 1999 to recognize attorneys as legal specialists in the field of local government law and to encourage attorney proficiency and competency in the local government law field. Applicants for this recognition must have at least five years of experience in local government law, submit letters of recommendation; and pass a two-part written exam. Matt and Lisa Glover are two of only seven attorneys in North Carolina who have attained this designation.
2023 USTA NC Award Winners
Cary Parks, Recreation, & Cultural Resources Department has been chosen as the winner of the United States Tennis Association (USTA) North Carolina 2023 Outstanding Parks & Recreation Department. The Western Wake Tennis Association (WWTA) has been chosen as the winner of the USTA North Carolina 2023 Adaptive Tennis Award. It is an honor to recognize both the Cary Tennis Park and WWTA for the valuable contributions they are making to tennis in North Carolina.
Friends of the Page-Walker Presents Service Award
The Friends of the Page-Walker, on behalf of AmeriCorps and Points of Light, presented the President’s Volunteer Service Award to Green Level High School Junior Kriti Peechu at their board meeting on October 4. This award honors individuals whose service positively impacts communities. Kriti received a Gold Award for her volunteer service to the Friends of Page-Walker, the Cary Teen Council, the Red Cross Club, and many other services around Cary. The Friends of the Page-Walker are extremely thankful for her commitment and were honored to present her with a certificate, a letter from President Biden, a pin, and a medallion in recognition of her achievement.
West Cary Pedestrian Safety Updates
In response to citizen requests, staff signed task orders with two consultants this week in support of a continuing effort to improve pedestrian safety in Cary. Kimley-Horn and Associates has been retained to develop a scoping-level design and detailed project estimate for traffic signal and pedestrian mobility improvements along McCrimmon Parkway, associated with Panther Creek High School. Parents and students from Panther Creek High School have reached out to staff and organized a petition with over 80 signatures in support of pedestrian improvements. Staff have collaborated with NCDOT to identify solutions that will have a notable impact on pedestrian safety and vehicle circulation and are now utilizing the Spot Traffic Safety Program resources to further refine options.
In parallel with this effort, staff are working with consultant VHB to assess the impact of pedestrian safety improvements associated with the Nancy Branch Greenway crossing of Green Level Church Road. Another location that has drawn the interest of citizens in the area, this crosswalk has been identified for additional signage and markings in an effort to increase yield compliance by drivers on Green Level Church. VHB has been contracted to collect data before and after installation of these improvements so staff can assess their impact on the tendency for drivers to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk. This study will be used to help evolve Cary’s approach to crosswalk safety town wide.
Morrisville Carpenter Road Traffic Shift
Morrisville Carpenter Road traffic west of Louis Stephens Drive will be reconfigured into a new traffic pattern to support the completion of the Carpenter Fire Station Road Bridge and Intersection Improvements Project. The reconfiguration work is scheduled to start October 11, with a new traffic pattern starting October 14. Traffic will temporarily be routed to NC 55 using a section of the new roadway and Saunders Grove Lane with an all-way stop condition at the intersection of Saunders Grove Lane and Good Hope Church Road. The new traffic pattern is necessary to complete the roadway work along the former alignment of Morrisville Carpenter Road. To learn more, view detour maps, and stay up-to-date on improvements, visit carync.gov/CFSBridge.
North Cary WRF Welcomes Clayton’s Utility Team
The North Cary Water Reclamation Facility (NCWRF) hosted a tour for project managers with the Town of Clayton on September 27. The NCWRF shared valuable insight to assist Clayton with the planning and development of their new Sam’s Branch Water Reclamation Facility. The tour included a walkthrough of our State certified laboratory and operations control center.
Historic Preservation Commission
Wednesday, October 11
- A thanks to the Parks Staff that run the tennis center.
- Invitations to several events.
- A complaint about a gentleman’s club being built next to Pleasant Grove Elementary (The only place we allow a new use of this type is near the airport).
- A complaint that the downtown park is being built so that it can be named after me (Not true. The downtown park is named the downtown park.)
- A complaint that I am allowing growth (Any property owner has the right to develop their property and we do not have authority to prevent growth).
- A complaint that the downtown park is an “overkill”.
- A complaint that we destroyed a perfectly good library downtown. (It was a county library, and they made the decision for a new library – which was a good one. We kept the old library site as an open space).
- A complaint that we are not prioritizing Chapel Hill Road for improvements (This is a state road not a Cary road. They will need to fund improvements).
Next week’s activities staff meetings, SAS Pro-Am pairing party, SAS Pro-Am, SAS Championship TV taping, Diwali dance practices, Diwali lamp lighting, Diwali dance performance, and SAS Championship final round.
Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, October 15th, 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 email@example.com.