Harold’s Blog: College Cup Soccer, Public Works Appreciation Week and More

Cary, NC — This week I met an out-of-state Governor.

A Night of Soccer & Meeting Governor Justice of WV

Monday I attended the College Cup Championships for women and men which were both held at the Wake Med Soccer Park in Cary. Santa Clara defeated Florida State in penalty kicks after the overtime. Congratulations to Santa Clara on a stunning comeback win.

At the end of the women’s championship, I met the Governor of West Virginia, Jim Justice, who was attending to support Marshall who was playing Indiana. Governor Justice was a big guy and very kind.

He seemed to be a downhome fellow and even drove himself to the soccer park from the airport even though he had an entourage of about ten. He was not disappointed as unseeded Marshall upset Indiana to win the NCAA championship. Congratulations to Marshall and Governor Justice.

CAMPO & Metro Mayors Meetings

Wednesday I attended a meeting of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Executive Board. The agenda included four consent items, three public hearings, and three discussion items. All items were for information only except the consent items which were approved unanimously. Here’s the agenda in detail. The meeting lasted about an hour and a half.

Friday I attended a meeting of the North Carolina Metro Mayors. Here is a summary of that meeting from the Executive Director:

Federal Update

American Rescue Plan

  • Money from the American Rescue Plan is now being distributed to “entitlement/metro” cities. This is a great time to begin collaborating with other municipalities on how they are utilizing ARP funds.
  • You have until 2024 to obligate and 2026 to spend the funds, leaving plenty of time to plan how to spend the funds.  It makes sense to conserve (at least a portion of) your ARP funds in order to fully leverage other ARP resources and funds and consider emerging guidance on flexibility of the funds to meet the goals in your community.
  • Going forward we may sponsor breakout discussions for ARP based on specific programmatic uses of the funds.  For example, a specific session for cities interested in using ARP for affordable housing. Reach out to Beau if you think this would be advantageous for your city.
  • There are still many questions surrounding the Guidance from Treasury.

Monday (5/24) at 2PM, you are invited to join a special NCLM and NLC Webinar on the Treasury Guidance. You can register for the event here.

Duke Energy

  • This week, an article was written reporting that Duke Energy was contacted by a hedge fund encouraging them to divide up their companies.
  • Duke Energy is a major energy supplier to our energy provider to many of our municipalities, and it may be advantageous to have local governments weigh in on this situation with state regulators and the public if it continues to build steam.

Governor’s Office Update

Special Guest – Lee Lilley, Governor’s Director of Pandemic Recovery

Governors budget recommendations for American Rescue Plan State Programs

In addition to what our local governments are receiving from ARP ($1.3B for our municipalities and $2B for counties), the State of North Carolina is also receiving $5.44B for state fiscal relief and $277M for critical capital projects.  The Governor’s recommendations to the General Assembly for use of these funds fall into five major buckets:

  • Assisting Individuals and Families Hardest Hit
  • Upgrading Infrastructure
  • Preparing the Workforce
  • Promoting Business Development and Innovation
  • Positioning Government to Best Serve North Carolinians

Below are more details on specific recommendations that may be of interest to our cities.

Expanding Affordable Housing

  • $460M to the NC Housing Finance Agency (NC HFA) for new housing development and the rehabilitation of existing units.
  • $40M to NC HFA for the Workforce Housing Loan Program, which finances loans to construct of substantially rehabilitate affordable rental housing in combination with federal low-income housing tax credits.
  • $75M for down payment assistance

Closing the Digital Divide – $1.2B

  • $600M for infrastructure
  • $420M to ensure affordability of internet access
  • $165M for digital literacy and enablement
  • $15M for operations support

Water and Wastewater Infrastructure – $800M

  • $440M for distressed & at-risk units (No match required for distressed units and regionalization projects)
  • $360M for all units statewide

Lead and Asbestos Remediation in Schools and Child Care Facilities – $160M

  • $35M for the testing and remediation of lead in the drinking water at public schools and childcare facilities
  • $125M to public schools and childcare facilities to assist with the cost of lead paint and asbestos abatement

Hospitality Industry Business Assistance and Recover Grants – $350M

Local Government Assistance – $65M

  • $41M to NCLM, NCACC, and NCARCOG to provide guidance to localities as they manage ARP allocations.

The funds do require legislative action, so these are proposed uses… Governor’s Office will continue to have conversations with legislators surrounding these priorities.  We encourage you to reach out to your local delegation about the importance of specific funding pieces that are included in the Governor’s recommendations.

Resources for Questions:

General Assembly Update – General Overview

  • Senate and House appropriations leaders continue to meet behind closed doors to negotiate budget numbers. They have not come to a consensus on the amount of money that should be spent in this year’s budget.
  • We expect the Senate will release their version of the budget in the next 2-3 weeks.
  • General Assembly leadership has given no indication as to when they expect to appropriate the remaining $5.7B of American Rescue Plan money that was directed to North Carolina.

Local Revenues/Local Control

Revise Municipal Redistricting/Census S722

  • This bill is specifically for municipalities that are responsible for holding elections this fall. S722 explicitly allows municipalities with districts/wards based solely on population, to uniformly reschedule their election and their filing dates. And most importantly would NOT require and structural change to the method of electing a municipal board – just move the dates to accommodate the delayed census data and redistricting.
  • This bill is a one-time authority for impacted cities to delay elections until 2022.  It is an extremely well-crafted bill that will probably only require a few amendments to address technical or process questions.  The primary Senate bill sponsor, Senator Daniels said in both hearings this week that they are happy to consider any needed amendments – municipal advocates have already had productive discussions with bill sponsors and legislative staff.
  • For those 40+ municipalities impacted – the 2022 schedule would track county/state/federal elections dates.  Using the state’s first primary (usually in March) for the first election date for municipalities, the second municipal election round would be during the “second primary” for state/county/federal (usually in late April or early May) and the two cities with partisan elections would hold their general election in November 2022 along with county/state/federal elections (Charlotte and Sanford).
  • The bill sponsors have acknowledged that they will continue to work with the State Board of Elections and the North Carolina League of Municipalities to fine tune and address additional concerns (like possibly delaying the election candidate filing date to late January before the March elections).
  • It is scheduled for a floor vote be heard on the Senate floor next Tuesday (5/25).  Beau will reach out to you about a potential webinar with NCLM on this bill once the Senate has voted and the bill moves to the House for consideration.

Transportation

Transportation Stakeholder Group Meeting

  • Beau has been invited to represent Metro Mayors on a Transportation Stakeholder Group looking at a strategy for long term transportation financing, an effort led by Mooresville’s NC State Senator Vickie Sawyer (R), a Senate Transportation Chair.
  • We plan to invite Sen. Sawyer to join a MMC call to provide her an opportunity to hear from each of you.

NC Chamber of Commerce Letter

  • The NC Chamber sent a letter to the General Assembly urging them to support a modernized transportation revenue formula in this year’s budget.
  • We would encourage you to engage with your local chambers of commerce in order to find ways that you can support the growing partnership with our business community to modernize and improve our state’s investment on transportation.

Economic Development

Nothing to Report

Public Safety

Nothing to Report

Additional Notes:

Mayor Lyles from Charlotte offered to share their plans to reopen to city staff in September. An outline of their plan is attached to this email.

Next week: We will address short term rentals/AirBnB legislation being considered– H829

Mother Teresa Church Groundbreaking

Sunday I attended a groundbreaking for the Mother Teresa Church on Yates Store Road. I was honored to be invited to this church’s historic event. After a small religious ceremony, I joined several Monsignors in the actual turning of the dirt groundbreaking ceremony. Their phase one should take them about fourteen months to complete. Hopefully, I will be invited to that ceremony.

Town Manager Report

The town manager’s report for this week included the following from Russ Overton, Cary’s Deputy Town Manager.

Manager’s Message to Council

I appreciate each of you for joining us at the May Quarterly meeting last week and it was nice to have the team together working through Cary’s most important topics.

Just as the Mayor ended Cary’s State of Emergency declaration at last week’s Quarterly meeting, we learned this week that Chatham and Wake Counties are expected to end their emergency declarations effective June 1 and Durham County ended theirs earlier this week.

Cary was extra popular this week playing host to the NCAA Women’s and Men’s College Cup Soccer Tournaments held at WakeMed Soccer Park. This was a wonderful opportunity as it showcased the Soccer Park as well as our beautiful community. We were excited to see two of Cary’s biggest fans, Mayor Weinbrecht and Mayor Pro Tem Frantz at the game, and they were joined by West Virginia’s Governor Jim Justice at the championship games with upset wins in the Women’s division by Santa Clara and in the Men’s division by Marshall.

We look forward to Sean returning next week and continuing our work to prepare Town facilities for the return of staff, currently working remotely, on June 1.

Take care and have a great weekend.

Russ

Public Works Appreciation Week

In recognition of our Public Works team, staff from the Town Manager’s Office and Human Resources brought breakfast to the operations center Wednesday morning to recognize them for their tireless contributions to our community.

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.

  • Members from Council’s Senior Advisory Board gathered virtually on Wednesday for their orientation. Members heard from Deputy Town Manager Russ Overton, Assistant Town Attorney Matt Pentz, and Deputy Clerk Julie Clifton as they welcomed the members and shared information about the roles of advisory volunteers in Cary.
  • Srijana Guilford was re-elected to the Carolina Recycling Association (CRA) Board of Directors for the 2021-2024 term. She also serves as the Vice-Chair to the CRA’s Education and Outreach Committee. Cary has been a long-standing member of the CRA and is proud to share her expertise in the regional efforts to conserve resources by advancing recycling and waste reduction throughout the Carolinas.
  • Cary’s water reclamation facilities (North Cary, South Cary, and Western Wake Regional) received Platinum Peak Performance Award recognition from the National Association of Clean Water Agencies. The Platinum Award signifies that a water reclamation facility has operated at peak performance and maintained 100 percent compliance with all regulatory requirements for at least the last 5 years.

NCAA Women’s and Men’s College Cup

NCAA Women’s and Men’s College Cup Soccer Tournament crowned winners on Monday with about 5,000 fans in attendance and televised on ESPN. For the first time ever, both the Men’s and Women’s championships were held during the same time period and at the same location.

On top of the finals, Cary hosted a total of 40 matches throughout the tournament. What started with 84 teams playing 82 games came down to Marshall University men winning their first National Championship and Santa Clara (CA) took home the Women’s National championship winning in penalty kicks.

Park staff and an entire team of full-time, part-time, contractor, and volunteer personnel spent nearly 5,000 hours planning and organizing the event that lasted over 3 weeks.

International Compost Awareness Week

Cary celebrated International Compost Awareness Week (ICAW) with a social media campaign.

In collaboration with Wake County Solid Waste and Recycling, Toward Zero Waste Cary, and the Good Hope Farm non-profit coalition, Cary’s week-long outreach efforts reached 12,721 people. The ICAW 2021 theme “Grow, Eat, Compost, Repeat” generated engagement with Good Hope Farm’s innovative regenerative agriculture practices.

The ICAW campaign shared a Cary post to its Facebook platform, extending Cary’s work to a worldwide audience. Cary’s education campaign goals were accomplished through tips for successful backyard composting, highlights about the value that composting plays in a healthy urban ecosystem, and by providing citizens an opportunity to sign-up for our final spring virtual compost workshop taking place on May 28.

Special Olympics of North Carolina

On Wednesday, Cary Police Community Services and Project PHOENIX officers partnered with Dunkin’ Donuts for a fundraising campaign to support Special Olympics North Carolina (SONC).

A proud supporter of SONC, Dunkin’ Donuts invited the public to visit participating locations between May 9 through May 22 to donate via the Community Cups icon campaign and through the purchase of SONC commemorative Torch Run t-shirts or ball caps. The funds raised will help the SONC continue to provide sports and health programming for its athletes.

Additional Information of Interest

We found the following article 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 thank you for all we are doing for the tennis community
  • A complaint about a proposed two-story dental office next to Wellington
  • A request to be involved in Cary’s 150th Anniversary
  • A complaint about the Dunham Park renovation
  • A complaint about a water bill adjustment

Activities next week include staff meetings, meetings with citizens, a meeting with a foreign media outlet, Jury duty, the last regularly scheduled council meeting of May, and a meeting of the North Carolina Metro Mayors Association.

COVID-Positive Town Employee, Patrick George, Dies at 32

The town experienced a tragic loss this week with the death of Patrick George, a Public Works recycling team member. Patrick, age 32, was a recycling equipment operator and had been part of our Recycling and Solid Waste team for just over two years and was well respected by his peers.

It is heartbreaking that someone so young was taken by COVID-19. My thoughts and prayers are with Patrick’s family, friends, and the entire Public Works Department who put their lives on the line so that we may live in comfort. Rest in Peace Patrick and God bless you all!

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, May 30th.  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.organd email personal comments to augustanat@mindspring.com.


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

All the Cary news for the informed Cary citizen. Subscribe by email.

2 replies
  1. Susan Gordon
    Susan Gordon says:

    Our yard, and our neighbor’s yard, generate an above average amount of yard waste. Both I and our neighbors have found heavy-duty reusable plastic bags for much of our yard waste. They are eco-friendly and make yard cleanup easier due to the fact that they stand up to be filled. This decreases stress on our backs.

    Your department employees have done an excellent job of handling these bags at our curbside.

    This morning we were advised that these reusable plastic bags are no longer allowed for yard waste, and that we must use either paper yard waste bags or regular waste cans for our debris. This seems to make no sense. I understand that paper bags are less work since they can be tossed into the truck as is. However, your employee advised…and your website indicates…that hard plastic trash cans are also acceptable containers. I confirmed that if we set out 10 hard plastic trash cans full of debris, that is acceptable and those cans would be emptied into the truck by your employees and set back down on the curb…just like they do with the reusable plastic bags. But that the reusable bags are no longer allowed.

    I fail to see the difference between our eco-friendly reusable bags and hard plastic cans. Your employees agreed that it makes no sense to them, and that it is the same amount of work either way.

    Reply
    • Sophia
      Sophia says:

      I have seen these eco-friendly bags online and was also interested in using them. They store better than having so many hard plastic bins and are easier to work with than paper bags which are hard to move around. Sad to hear that they are not accepted 🙁

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.