Cary, NC – This past Thursday the council and members of our town staff held our third quarter meeting at the SAS Global Education Center. These quarterly meetings are invaluable in that they foster a collaborative environment where the council and staff work collectively to better implement our community’s vision and keep Cary great.
While each quarterly meeting is important, I always consider the third quarter the most critical as it is at this meeting where we begin our annual budget deliberations – which we did. This year however was a bit different as we also spent a great deal of time discussing the upcoming 2019 Bond Referendum.
Yes, Cary voters will have the chance to decide on roughly a $225 million bond referendum this fall for numerous transportation and parks projects throughout town.
Notable bond referendum projects include:
• Nearly $14 million in additional funding for street improvements beyond the FY2020 budget amount of $5.4 million. This will provide for asphalt patching, overlays and resurfacing of town maintained streets.
• $5 million for new sidewalks. This is in addition to our annual appropriation of $1.75 million for sidewalk construction. These funds will help us to fulfill citizen requests for neighborhood sidewalks, complete gaps along major streets and provide for ADA upgrades and handicap ramps – not to mention it will further help us move closer to our goal of creating a more walkable and pedestrian friendly community and promote healthier living.
• $4.8 million for the Cary Parkway sidewalk and bridge at the Black Creek Greenway. This project will complete the sidewalk gap from Evans Road to N. Harrison Ave. AND construct a pedestrian bridge over Black Creek Greenway next to the existing Cary Parkway bridge.
• $28.7 million to widen Green Level Church Rd. from McCrimmon Parkway to Kit Creek Rd; Widen O’Kelly Chapel Rd. from Green Level Church Rd. to NC55; and widen Carpenter Fire Station Rd. from NC55 to the Cameron Pond neighborhood.
• $5 million for intersection improvements at congested intersections – similar to the recent improvements made to the Cary Parkway and High House intersection.
• $23 million for NCDOT Betterments. These include enhancements to and in concert with numerous NCDOT projects above and beyond what NCDOT would typically construct. Examples include two greenway tunnels under NC540; Pedestrian and bicycle facilities on bridges; median and sidewalk upgrades to Cary standards and improved landscaping/aesthetics.
• $21 million for transportation improvements associated with the Fenton project at Cary Town Blvd, Trinity Rd. South, Quinard Drive and the I40 interchanges.
Parks and Recreation
• $50 million for the complete design and construction of phase II of the Downtown Cary Park.
• $4 million for playground upgrades at 10 parks to include Rose Street Park, Dunham Park and Godbold Park.
• $2.2 million for historic preservation/renovation of town owned historic properties with an additional $1 million should philanthropic goals be met (what exactly that looks like yet we don’t know but is something we are working on)
• $8.9 Million for the construction of Carpenter Fire Station Park
• $6.1 million for McCrimmon Neighborhood Park
• $2.2 million for complete tennis court replacements at Dunham Park and Annie Jones Park
• $2 million in improvements to Sk8 Cary Park – this includes a roof structure so that the facility can be used year-round and ungraded lighting and ramps.
• $10 million for construction and design of Tryon Road Park
• $2 million for improvements to Veterans Freedom Park to include restroom facilities, additional parking and a memorial loop trail.
• $20 million for open space acquisition and land banking for future park sites.
So yeah, I know what y’all are thinking right about now – how much is this going to cost me? Well the good news is that as a AAA rated municipality, Cary has a long history of conservatively and successfully managing its finances and debt. As a result, the proposed 2019 bond program does NOT have any tax increase associated with it at this time. The town is currently able to absorb these additional costs due to the retirement of previously issued debt, a healthy fund balance and our ongoing efforts to manage operating costs.
With the lowest tax rate of any municipality in Wake County and beyond at 35 cents per $100 valuation, Cary continues to do more with less.
I wholeheartedly support the proposed bond referendum and I hope you do too.
I will follow up with a separate post about the FY2020 Budget soon as there is still work to be done there. Stay tuned!
Thanks so much to our amazing town staff and my council colleagues for all of their work on this. It is truly a privilege to work with such an amazing group of dedicated public servants. Thank you also to Cary citizens for your faith and trust in me to serve as your voice in town government. It is my honor to serve you. And special thanks also to SAS for hosting our meeting this past Thursday – we are so blessed to have you in our community!
That’s all for now. As always, thanks for reading!
From the blog of Cary Councilmember Don Frantz. Photos courtesy of Don Frantz.