From the blog of Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht, covering the week through May 15, 2011. Photo by Hal Goodtree.
Cary, NC – This week was filled with award ceremonies, speaking engagements, and a council meeting.
Monday: Honor a Teacher
Monday I called council members to find out any issues they may have with Thursday’s council agenda. Since the agenda was light there were no concerns or issues from council. The agenda meeting with management, the directors, and Mayor Pro-Tem was very short. I projected that the council meeting on Thursday will be an hour or so.
Monday evening I attended the Cary Chamber’s Honor a Teacher celebration. Businesses, families, and individuals sponsored awards for every school in Cary. Cary’s Barry Mitsch was emcee and did a wonderful job introducing nominees and winners of awards. I was honored to present an award to a Cary Elementary teacher on behalf of the Town of Cary. Before giving the award I told a story of how a teacher made a difference in my life and thanked all of them for what they do each and every day. Teachers are probably one of the most under appreciated professions in the United States. I think it is fantastic for our chamber and our business community to step up and recognize and honor these teachers.
Thanks to the Ashworths for starting this many years ago.
Tuesday: Protecting Jordan Lakes
Tuesday I was scheduled to meet with the town manager and Mayor Pro-Tem. Our meeting was cut short because the town manager was pulled into a meeting with residents concerning the Tryon Road and Cary Parkway apartment proposal. We were able to briefly talk about earmarking a small portion of our open space money towards the Triangle Land Conservancy to protect waters going into Jordan Lake.
Wednesday: Tryon Road/Cary Pkwy Apartments, Wastewater
Wednesday I met with the developer of the controversial apartment proposal at the corner of Tryon Road and Cary Parkway. He provided me with the latest details of what was being proposed. Based on what I understand, this project may not have a valid protest petition which would require 6 out of 7 council votes to pass. So it appears that it will only require a majority to pass. So if the votes went along the lines of the Land Use proposal it will pass. We’ll see.
Wednesday night was a meeting of the Western Wake Partners which includes Cary, Apex, and Morrisville. We went into closed session for most of the meeting. Once we were back into open session I asked if small businesses were being considered in the bidding process for the new Western Wake Regional Wastewater Facility. Staff stated that there were plenty of opportunities for small businesses in the construction of this facility.
Thursday: Chamber’s Small Business Excellence Awards, C-SPAN’s StudentCam Contest
Thursday at lunch I attended the Chamber’s small business excellence awards. There were about 200 people in attendance and I provided a few comments before the actual awards were handed out. Here is an excerpt from my comments:
“Each year, this event recognizes our top entrepreneurs, pivotal pieces to the backbone of Cary’s economy. We realize that you could choose to do business anywhere, but you chose Cary, and we’re proud of that.
Having you in Cary makes our community stronger. We are fortunate to boast an unemployment figure lower than municipalities in our region and across the state; we appreciate these employment opportunities you give to our citizens – our friends, family and neighbors. Thank you and we appreciate your entrepreneurial spirit.
So, as a resident of Cary, thank you for all that you do to make my town more interesting, more vibrant, and more successful.
And as one of your elected representatives, let me promise you that I along with my colleagues am committed to your success even though times remain difficult.
Over the recent years, we’ve grown to include a wider variety of goods and services available in Town to meet our citizens’ needs. This growth of services translates to positive economic growth in a climate that is just now beginning to show signs of stabilization nationwide.
That’s why the Council is doing all that we can to keep taxes and fees as low as possible – asking from you only what we absolutely need to keep Cary one of the greatest places in the nation to live, work, raise a family, and operate a small business.
In addition, we’re focused on our community’s safety so that you, your employees, and your customers feel good about being in Cary. We’re focused on transportation so that it’s easy for your customers to do business with you.
And our Town Manager, Ben Shivar is examining our inspections and permitting processes to find ways to make it easier to get businesses started or expanded.”
Unfortunately, I had a private meeting scheduled after my comments so I was not able to stay. As luck would have it, the private meeting was cancelled so I went for a four mile run instead.
Thursday night’s council meeting lasted a little over an hour in open session and about an hour and a half total. It was dominated by presentations and public hearings. I was privileged to honor 8th grader Carl Colglazier who was the Grand prize winner for C-SPAN’s StudentCam contest. This national competition, now in its seventh year, invites middle school (grades 6-8) and high school students (grades 9-12) to produce a five to eight minute documentary, with this year’s topic focusing on “Washington, DC, through my lens.” With entries coming from 1,481 students in 40 states and D.C., C-SPAN received a record 1,069 videos, marking a 6% increase over the number of submissions for last year’s Student Cam. Carl, an eighth grade home-school student, focused his documentary on Congress, partisanship, and compromise. To see his winning video go to http://studentcam.viddler.com/videos/watch.php?id=59a874ec.
Friday I gave welcoming comments and read a proclamation to several folks from around the state attending the Toastmasters International event at the Embassy Suites. Toastmasters International is a world leader in communication and leadership development with about 260,000 members. These members improve their speaking and leadership skills by attending one of the 12,500-plus clubs that make up our global network of meeting locations. This event was being hosted by District 37 which is our area.
Saturday: High School Essays on Diversity
Saturday I gave comments at the Turkish-American Divan Cultural Center which was awarding high school students for essays on diversity. My comments can best be summed up with this excerpt:
“I believe our community will continue to become stronger and more successful as long as we embrace the values, experiences, and talents that each of us offers.”
44 students from all over the Triangle participated and were judged by professors from neighboring universities. It was my honor to present the winning award to the grand prize winner.
There were a lot of emails from staff and citizens this week. Staff sent out a press release on Cicadas which come out about every ten years or so. They will be out in full force this year from May through July.
The town manager’s proposed budget was released this week. His $22 million recommendation is about 36% less than last year and does not include a tax increase. The capital plan includes $8 million for downtown, $3.7 million for Wake Med Soccer Park, and $2 million for street and greenway improvements. I anticipate his recommendations will go through council without much change. His last two budgets have resulted in significant surpluses for the town.
Other emails this week included complaints about the Tryon at Cary Parkway apartment proposal, a complaint about the Bowden sign issue, a complaint about a proposed rezoning in West Cary, and a compliment on our proposed redistricting plan.
Next Week: Golf, Cary/Morrisville, Campaigning
Next week I will start with a round of golf at the Augusta National on Monday. This is a nice reward given to volunteers who work the Masters Golf tournament.
Other highlights for this week include the first budget work session and a joint meeting of the Cary/Morrisville subcommittee.
I will also be attending Gale Adcock’s campaign kickoff on Saturday and will hold my own kickoff on Sunday at 2 PM.
Here is the message associated with my event:
Please join us for the kick-off of Mayor Weinbrecht’s Re-election campaign!
Feel free to forward this invitation to other folks that support Harold, and want to join in. This is not a fundraiser.
Sunday May 29, 2011 – 2 PM
Davis Drive Park (Picnic Shelter)
1610 Davis Drive
I will be sending out a press release on my campaign later this week.
Well that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, May 22nd. Please feel free to email me with a comment. Email all Town of Cary questions or comments to Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org. Email personal comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.