Bonds on the Ballot for Cary Voters in November

Story and photo by Hal Goodtree.

Cary, NC – Have you been watching the political conventions these last couple of weeks? I have. Closer to home, we’ll have a bond issue on the ballot in Cary this November, but you’ll have to exert yourself to cast your vote.

Cary Bond Issues

Cary will have three separate bond issues on the ballot, collectively called the Community Investment Bonds.

According to, one bond initiative goes to a new fire station. Another funds development and upgrades to seven Cary parks. The third bond issue covers roads, traffic lights, sidewalks and more in nine separate projects grouped under the heading of transportation.

  • Fire Station – $6.45 million to replace Fire Station #2.
  • Parks – $15.87 million for new parks, park upgrades, a downtown park and farmers market support facility, greenway extensions, an off-leash dog area, and new sports turf fields.
  • Transportation – $57.68 million for traffic improvements, resurfacing, intersection improvements, streetscape improvements, new signal system software, sidewalks, bike facilities, bridge improvements and road widening.

Four Cents

All three bond issues together total $80 million.

If passed, property tax rates will go up 2¢ in 2013 and 2¢ in 2015.

Find It on the Ballot

Candidates and issues vary from precinct to precinct in Cary and across NC 55 in that part of town that’s in Chatham County.

In short, it’s hard to predict where the Cary Bond issue will appear on your ballot. So you are going to have to look for it.

I looked for a sample ballot on NC Board of Elections website. Good luck! Even the old ballots seemed to be on dead links. I think the NC-BOE needs a Technology Task Force like we have in Cary.

My guess is that the bond initiative will be on the back of the ballot. If so, that means you must turn over your ballot to vote on the bond issues.

If you vote straight ticket, or just for the Presidential candidates, your voice will not be heard on the bond issue. Arguably, the local bond referendum has more impact in Cary than almost anything that goes on in Washington.

Our Recommendation

As always, we won’t tell you how to vote. Just that you should vote.

We’re especially keen on encouraging voter participation in local and municipal issues.

Do your research and be prepared to cast your vote for or against Cary’s bond issue on election day. Your voice counts!

Register to Vote by October 12

The deadline for new voter registration in Wake County is Friday, October 12. Register to vote now.

11 replies
  1. David Burnett
    David Burnett says:

    My thinking is that the road improvements should have been the priority, not the purchase of land for parks. Parks are a luxury (optional) if the citizens want them and they can afford them. I don’t want my taxes to be spent on luxuries and then be told we have an emergency now that we need to borrow money and pay interest on for the next twenty years. I put a roof on my own home BEFORE I made upgrades to my kitchen.

  2. Lori Bush
    Lori Bush says:

    @Bill – you have not been the only one to ask this question – so I posed it to our Town Finance Director, and here is her reply.

    Government general obligation bond debt for the referendum projects is repaid over 20 years. Our repayment schedule for these type projects is unlike a home mortgage with level payments. Our principal payments are level over the 20 years, so as the interest obligation declines over time as the principal is repaid, our payments decline over the 20 years.

    If the voters approve the bonds we expect to have two bond sales which is the source of our two projected tax increases. As they have every year when Council sets the tax rate, Council will have the choice to decrease the tax rate as the debt service decreases for these projects. It will also be important for [council] to consider any maintenance costs associated with these projects over that same time frame.

    I am sorry that I can’t provide specific information about when or if Council might reduce the tax rates, but hope that these details help explain the budgetary impacts of the referendum and the projects. …

    Hope that helps,

  3. Lori Bush
    Lori Bush says:

    You can find your own SAMPLE BALLOT by going to the State Board of Elections website

    Fill in your name and click on the county pull down, and then about mid-page you will see a link for My Sample Ballot.

    Hal – you are right, again. The Cary Bonds are on the back, with a few other races.

  4. Bill
    Bill says:

    If this property tax hike is presumably to cover the required $80 million for the three bond issues, what happens to the tax rates once the $80 million is raised and the bonds are paid for? I’d happily pay a one-time tax assessment specifically to fund these three worthy bond issues, but I’m not voting for a permanent tax rate increase. Do they think we’re that stupid?

  5. Mike
    Mike says:

    Over the years I have spent in Cary I have seen many instances of wasteful spending. Ex. Dynamic signs along the roadways Cary paid and estimated 20 Million to install and landscape these signs because they were needed and would improve things. Yet I have seen them in use no more than 5 to 10 times over the last five years or so. Did we really need to spend or tax dollars on them? How many others are there?
    We can all agree that we can use some improvements in Cary. But the true problem that has to be fixed is the wasteful spending that it does. Over the years as new homes and businesses have been built where has all the additional revenue gone why do we not have a surplus? The amount of land is the same but we are now getting more taxes from that land. Where is it going? At this rate the more we attract new homes and business the more taxes we will pay while we give corporations incentives to come here.
    It is true that homes at or below the 275K mark or assessed close to true market value but those higher are over assessed by as much as 10 to 20% higher then what they can sell for. Cary will not even look at this or try to adjust the rates as they do not want to lose that revenue stream. The fact is that when reassessment comes up tin 2016 they for sure will be looking at increasing the tax rate so that yes your house will be assessed at a lower value but you will still be paying the same taxes.
    The problem I see here is that they say they want to increase the tax rate by 4 cents over the next 4 years but they do not say how long it will take to pay that loan off or that the increase will ever come off which we all know it will not.
    The economy has been tough on all of us and we have had to learn to adjust our spending related to what we are earning why Cary can’t do the same and stop the wasteful spending and learn to adjust amazes me.
    Until I see the wasteful spending end my answer will always be “NO” but we all know that will not stop them from raising it the same as no one really voted to have a toll road but it happened.

  6. Dean
    Dean says:

    I would like to point out that even though the percentage did not go up, tax revenues had an increase during the last value adjustment, which happens every 8 years.

    Right now, the majority of the Town’s home owners are paying taxes on a value higher than they can sell their house. The Town asking for more taxes seems a bit greedy, since they got the increase without a vote, just a few years ago. And barring some major economic disaster, they will get another increase when the property values are assessed again in another 4 years.

    And very rarely does a tax increase get decreased. Governments tend to spend all they get and then continue to ask for more.

    • Gabe
      Gabe says:

      I would say that is true for certain parts of the Triangle, but the tax values are pretty accurate in Cary. My house has a tax value of 165000 and I could easily sell it for 170-175k.

      I just helped 2 other buyers close on homes where the tax value was lower than what they paid.

      Sometimes you have to invest with a bond so you can ensure prosperity down the road, think of it like a mortgage, did you buy your home with cash? Or did you get a mortgage so you could provide a safe home for you and your family?

      All the best,

  7. Gabe Macaluso
    Gabe Macaluso says:

    I will be voting yes on the bonds as well.

    It is important that these bonds pass so that our town continues to be one of the best towns in the country.

    Cary is one of the most financially fit municipalities, but sometimes the town grows faster than the revenue and it is important to be preemptive within reasonable means which these bond packages do.

    The population of the county keeps rising, but we do not see the money needed to continue funding teachers and other services.

    Please vote yes, the projects are spread equally through the community and will benefit all of the citizens.

    All the best,

  8. Joe Ciulla
    Joe Ciulla says:

    Thanks for posting this article, I haven’t been following Town of Cary government like I used to. I will be voting yes and hope these bonds pass. Cary is an incredible place to live and that does not come for free. Our leaders have done a great job of getting our finances back in order after the Ernie McAlister years, and I don’t think $80M is too much to ask to make things a little better.

  9. Dean
    Dean says:

    I will be voting “No” on the bonds. Yes, the Town of Cary hasn’t raised tax rates in years. And, Yes, it is the lowest rate in the county. However, Cary has continued to grow and increase revenues and the Town should continue to live within its budget and not incur more debt.

    As for Fire Station #2. I understand that preventive measures are good. However, I always wonder if sending a fire truck to a non-fire emergency is the wisest action. A smaller van with the needed medical equipment would probably be more cost effective and probably easier to get to the emergency. And with the many vacant business buildings in town, the Town could just rent the needed space. As for parking a fire truck in a parking lot of that commercial building, the Town doesn’t seem to have an issue parking police cars everywhere.

    Save up the money and pay cash.

Comments are closed.