Harold’s Blog: Election Week, Leaf Pick-Up and More

Cary, NC — Since this was election week my only meetings were with staff.

Keeping Tabs on Election Results

Monday’s virtual meeting with the town manager included topics on the environment, security after the election and a potential development proposal.

Tuesday was Election Day. During the campaign, Trump urged his supporters to show up on election day while Biden encouraged his supporters to vote early or do mail-in ballots. Some states counted mail-in ballots first and some didn’t start counting until after the polls were closed.

In North Carolina, mail-in ballot totals will be posted later this week. We will be the last state in the union to start counting. The order in which the mail-in ballots were counted in each state caused early leads by one candidate to be overtaken by the other.

For example, Florida counted mail-in ballots first so Biden had a lead only to be beaten significantly by Trump in the end. On the other hand, Pennsylvania counted their mail-in ballots last. For states that counted mail-in ballots last, it took days.

On Saturday, Pennsylvania had counted enough mail-in ballots where Biden had a sizeable lead and was projected the winner in that state. That gave him over 270 electoral votes. As a result, all the media outlets projected Biden the winner.

Trump meanwhile declared that he had won and said there was widespread voter fraud. He also filed several lawsuits in states including Pennsylvania. The streets nationwide saw celebrations for Biden and protests from Trump supporters. So far, Cary has seen neither (as far as I am aware).

In statewide races, Governor Cooper, a Democrat, was re-elected. The Lt. Governor, North Carolina House and Senate remained with a Republican majority. Senator Tillis, a Republican, holds a sizeable lead before the mail-in ballots are counted and will likely be declared the winner.

One Mayor’s Opinion

OPINION: At this point in our country’s history, we are so very divided. This country has probably not seen this type of division since the civil war. We must find a way to work on and resolve issues together.

Cary has done this for years and I believe it is one of the main reasons we are so successful. We understand that working together is the only way we can reach our true potential. We understand that all decision makers have value and something to offer. And there is not one person on this earth that is always right.

So, it is important for us to make an extra effort to hear what others have to say and try to understand our point of view. It is my sincere hope that our President and our Congress will find a way to work on problems together. God knows we have a plethora of problems to deal with.

On a personal level, it is important to understand there is not only happiness after an election but profound grief. I plan to go out of my way to perform random acts of kindness, smile and be more helpful. I hope you will join me.

Town Manager Report

The town manager, Sean Stegall’s report for this week included:

Manager’s Message to Council

I don’t have a conventional weekly message to share as the majority of my time and conversations this week focused on the election. It is clear that the current political climate is impacting our country and generating a lot of stress and anxiety among people.

Along with the election this week, we continue to navigate a world pandemic. We are humble people who exist in a community of varied opinions, yet together we grow in strength and character. I appreciate and value every employee in the Town of Cary and realize your ability to balance home, family and job is to be commended.

In the weeks ahead, we will experience the impact the election will have on our community. Be steadfast in your abilities to coexist in peace and resolution. Together we are far better, than divided.

Sean

Project Updates

McCrimmon Parkway Park was submitted for second round of review to the Development Review Committee. The Downtown Cary Park will submit for third round of development plan review. Plans for both projects can be viewed via our electronic review portal by searching McCrimmon Parkway Park and Downtown Cary Park.

Weekly Operational Report

The weekly operational report brings a close to the week’s organizational activities. Please take a moment to review the weekly operational report.

Departmental Updates

Included below is a summary-level overview of the operational activities continuing to take place during this health emergency.

  • Pat Galloway, Janet Holcombe and Brent Miller have been selected as finalists for the Town of Cary’s 2020 Hometown Spirit Award. Learn more about each of this year’s finalists online.
  • This year’s Hometown Spirit Award winner will be announced by Mayor Weinbrecht on Thursday, November 12, during a remote Council meeting.
  • Legal is coming to the end of another successful externship semester where it hosted two law student externs from UNC Chapel Hill and Campbell University law schools. Legal is reviewing applications for the spring 2021 semester and has received the highest number of applications since the program started.
  • The newly opened New Hope Disc Golf course is off to a flying start. Pedestrian counters have been installed at the entrance to the front/back loops of the course to capture participation. The first week of play generated over 1,600 rounds/participants averaging 232 rounds/participants per day.
  • In response to the pandemic, PRCR developed a digital process which allows citizens to renew dog park memberships as well as purchase new ones virtually. In October, staff processed 129 pass applications, with 50% of the pass sales being new participants.
  • On Monday, the Zoning Board of Adjustment approved the Northwoods Elementary School development plan (20-DP-4667) and special use permit (20-SU-4667) for the installation of a new seven classroom modular unit.
  • The Zoning Board also voted to continue case 20-AA-01, an appeal of the Planning Director’s Determination (Drive-through Tract 3 Waverly Place), to their next meeting on December 7, 2020.
  • Duke Health at Green Level -Phase 1A, Medical Office Building and Parking Deck: Building permits were approved for a new 102,000 square feet medical office building and a parking garage with 346 parking spaces.
  • Carolina Yards: The development plan for Phase 2A, Buildings 9 & 11D was submitted for second round of review. These buildings are multifamily building with internal parking decks associate with initial phase of redevelopment within the center of the former Cary Towne Center location.
  • The Development Pulse report for October is now available.
  • The North Carolina Division of Waste Management (NCDWM) monitors pre-regulatory landfills (sites active prior to regulations). An old Cary landfill within the Citizen’s Convenience Center on N. Dixon Ave. was closed in 1974 and has been monitored by NCDWM since March 2014.
  • The State notified Cary that starting November 9, 2020, drilling work will occur to monitor soil, surface and ground water at the end of Madison Avenue.
  • The Wake BRT Virtual Open House is now live! There are a number of materials available on the site, as well as three engagement opportunities, so be sure to scroll down. Surveys are currently open for Station Design Visual Preference and Public Art considerations.
  • The mandatory pre-bid meeting for the upcoming Connected Vehicle Project was held this week. Over 40 participants including NCDOT, vendors, contractors, and others attended the event. Staff is expecting to receive and review bids in November and December.
  • Cary is partnering with NCDOT to review the project bids and decide who has provided the best bid to meet the stated goals of the project.
  • This week, the final bridge in the annual pedestrian bridge inspection was completed. Fifty-two bridges were inspected this year and no priority maintenance items were identified. The annual reports will be finalized this fall.
  • On October 30, staff received four bids for the Police Basement & Drug Vault Improvements project. The bid was awarded to Riggs-Harrod Builders, Inc. and the work is expected to be completed in the summer of 2021.
  • Construction of our Annual Street Improvements Project is finishing up with Academy Street in mid-November.
  • T&F recently completed Cary’s annual GIS update in coordination with Duke Energy. This update includes street lights billed to Cary along public streets and we currently have over 13,300 street lights at an annual cost of nearly $2,000,000.
  • The Chapel Hill Road Visual Preference Survey ended November 1 with 670 participants. Residents shared their preferences on which facilities and design elements will contribute positively to Chapel Hill Road. Residents voted on various types of community design, pedestrian facilities, bike facilities, land/streetscaping, and more. View the Survey Report.
  • Staff and the consultant team will review public comments and preferences and provide a summary for Council review. A multi-day Design Workshop is planned for early 2021.

Cary’s 30th Annual Loose Leaf Collection Begins

Matching the start of Cary’s cooler weather, Public Works crews started Cary’s 30th annual curbside loose-leaf collection program on Monday. This begins the first of three Town-wide sweeps, with the first two slated to be completed by Christmas Eve. The third begins after the turn of the year. Crews typically collect about 7,000 tons of leaves, all going to Brooks Composting facility in Goldston and turned into compost.

Cary Esports

Building on the success of hosting the Triangle Esports Championships in February, Cary held its first online esports event on October 31.

Six teams (18 total participants from age 13-40) competed in Rocket League, best described as “soccer, but with rocket-powered cars”. Discord, a VoIP, instant messaging and digital distribution platform designed for creating communities, was used to manage the event which is unique for a municipality.

The next step in Cary Esports is to host league play with a round robin season and tournament finals via NBA 2K20 and Madden NFL 20 in November/December. If you or your friends are gamers, register online.

Western Regional Community Advocacy Committee (WRCAC) Virtual Celebration

On November 5, the Western Regional Community Advocacy Committee (WRCAC) hosted a virtual celebration of food security heroes. Since the pandemic began, the WRCAC’s Food Security Action Group has worked tirelessly to increase access to healthy food in our most vulnerable neighborhoods.

Between March and August 2020, over 154,000 hot meals were served in the western region. Cary received a “Powerful Partners” award for leadership in community engagement, allocating Community Development Block Grant support, and hosting mask distribution events.

Cary’s Commitment to the Neuse River

Cary’s North and South water reclamation facilities are among the best performing wastewater plants for their size and scale among the Lower Neuse River Basin Association. Cary’s facilities routinely achieve 97% nitrogen removal throughout the year.

This high level of performance is achieved principally through biological nutrient reduction and without the use of supplemental chemicals. In FY20, Cary successfully treated 4.5 billion gallons of wastewater and recovered approximately 1.9 million pounds of nitrogen and kept it from being released into the Neuse River basin, thereby contributing to Cary’s commitment and the LNBA’s mission of protecting the Neuse Estuary.

Cary Recognized at the NC American Water Works Association Conference

Both the wastewater collection and water distribution systems were recognized this week at the NC American Water Works Association annual conference as top performing large wastewater collection and water distribution systems.

This is the second year running that Cary has been named number one in the state for these awards. Staff continues to do amazing work in managing and maintaining our infrastructure and are proud to receive this statewide recognition once again.

Equally noteworthy, Peter Wetterling, a Senior Mechanic/Operator at South Cary Water Reclamation Facility was awarded the Safe Water Maintenance Technologist of the Year Excellence Award. This award recognizes the individual who has contributed much to the successful operation and maintenance of wastewater treatment facilities.

Additionally, Robert Hirt, Utilities Engineering Manager, presented a technical session on the design and construction of the Good Hope Water Storage Tank and associated water system improvements.

Additional Information of Interest

We found the following articles to be particularly interesting this week and wanted to share with you for your reading pleasure:

Mayor’s Mailbox

Emails from citizens this week included:

  • A complaint about noise around Cary’s Skate park
  • Questions about cycling around the Fenton
  • Many complaints about a multi-family proposal on Piney Plains Road
  • A question about my transparency on Environmental Initiatives

Next week’s activities include a taping of the Hometown Spirit Award winner, staff meetings, and a council meeting.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, November 15th.  Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communications with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org and email personal comments to augustanat@mindspring.com.


From the blog of Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht. Images from Town of Cary.

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1 reply
  1. Gary Brown
    Gary Brown says:

    Additional Information of Interest

    I found the following article to be particularly interesting this week and wanted to share with you for your reading pleasure:

    The New York Times: Thanksgiving Dinner Safety Tips During Covid.
    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/06/well/covid-thanksgiving-safety-tips.html

    Serve Up Some Extra Precautions at Your Thanksgiving Table This Year

    Public health officials urge families to keep celebrations small, avoid mixing households and open the windows.

    Reply

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