Cary, NC – At the latest Cary Town Council meeting, the council passed the 2020 budget, confirmed the Master Plan for two new parks, held the Pinning Ceremony for Cary’s new police chief and more.
Fiscal Year 2020 Budget
After two Public Hearings at earlier Town Council meetings, the Cary Town Council voted on the Fiscal Year 2020 budget at the Thursday, June 27, 2019 meeting. The budget is $336.5 million, shrunk down from last year’s budget of $347 million, which both Town Council and Town Manager Sean Stegall noted is unusual in government.
Changes to the budget include a 2 percent increase in utility rates and the solid waste fee raised to $2.50/month, due to increased costs for processing recycling. The tax rate stays the same in this budget, but Stegall said it will likely increase in the near future.
Before the vote, Town Council all thanked Cary staff for their work on the budget, as well as thanking town residents who gave their input on what should or should not be included in the budget. Council Member Don Frantz also specifically brought up how the new quarterly meetings on the budget make the whole process better.
“Reading through it, it’s very dull, and that’s a good thing for a budget,” said Council Member Ed Yerha. “The last thing you want in a budget is a surprise.”
Town Council passed the 2020 budget unanimously.
West Cary Parks
Town Council voted on the master plans for two new parks in West Cary: the McCrimmon Parkway park and the Carpenter Fire Station Road park.
Plans for the McCrimmon Parkway park include a 0.75 mile trail loop, which includes a large hanging bridge. There will also be smaller sports sites, including tennis and pickleball courts, as well as a community garden.
The Carpenter Fire Station Road park is more level than the McCrimmon site so this park will include large athletic fields for baseball, as well as a fitness hub and dog park. There will be a half-mile trail loop and there are also plans for a large misting feature.
Completion of these parks is contingent upon this year’s bond referendum, but if the funding is secured, construction would start in 2021 and last 18 months.
Town Council voted unanimously for the park master plans.
At this Town Council meeting, the Town of Cary formally introduced the proposed bond orders for this year. These bonds, up for a vote at the Tuesday, October 8, 2019 election, would be for $112 million for parks and $113 million for transportation.
Town Council voted unanimously on this action, which sets up a Public Hearing on the bond referendum for Thursday, July 18, 2019.
There were two Public Hearings on the agenda, neither of which had any speakers. The first Public Hearing was to rezone 13.23 acres next to the Ridgefield Farms neighborhood and NC-540. The rezoning calls for R-8-Conditional Use, which is the same as the adjacent Ridgefield Farms neighborhood. One difference is, this would limit density to two dwelling units per acre, which is less dense than Ridgefield Farms. This would be a lot size limited to 10,000 square feet each. The neighborhood would also need to contain a community gathering space with a minimum of 5,000 square feet, which is twice as much as town ordinances require.
The only question from Town Council came from Council Member Ken George, who had questions about which nearby roads would connect to this site, which town staff said they had to research and provide at a later date. The rezoning proposal then went to the Planning and Zoning Board for their recommendation.
The only other Public Hearing was for a technical correction, as the Town Zoning Map accidentally left out an Industrial Conditional Use portion of a property on Globe Road. While Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht pointed they did not really have anything to vote on since this was a correction to a problem they made, Town Council did vote unanimously to correct the map.
Public Speaks Out
The agenda originally included a vote on a rezoning along Roberts Road but the applicant asked for it to be pulled in order to give them more time to work on the plan. One speaker at Public Speaks Out came to talk about this topic but since it was pulled, she thanked Town Council for the process.
Also speaking was a representative from the Keep the Canopy group, concerned about rapid development in Cary and the trees this was cutting down.
Other Town Business
The Town Council meeting started with a ceremony to officially pin Toni Dezomits as Cary’s new Police Chief. Dezomits is Cary’s 13th police chief.
Town Council also voted on a resolution supporting the new More Powerful NC campaign, created by state Attorney General Josh Stein to tackle the opioid crisis. This includes programs to take back unused prescription drugs, which the Cary Police Department currently does.
This meeting also had a proclamation in support of programs through Cary’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources department.
Story by Michael Papich. Photos by the Town of Cary, Google Maps and Hal Goodtree.