Harold’s Blog: Wake Transit Work Plan Approved

Cary, NC — This was a holiday week so there was not a lot of activity.

Monday- Chamber Golf Tournament

Monday I participated in a Cary Chamber of Commerce member/guest golf tournament. My group included council member Jack Smith, Cary Chamber President Howard Johnson, and Cary Chamber Board Chairman Steve Zaytoun.

It was a great time to build and strengthen relationships. I am grateful for all the work the Chamber and Cary businesses do to make our community one of the best.

Wednesday – CAMPO Approves Wake Transit Work Plan

Wednesday I participated in a meeting of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Executive Board. The agenda included seven consent items, two public hearings, and four discussion items.

The board unanimously approved the Wake Transit Work Plan, a preferred alternative for the Wake BRT (bus rapid transit) southern corridor, Wake Transit Financial Policies & Guidelines Amendments, FYs 2022 and 2023 Enhanced Mobility of Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities (Section 5310) Program Project Selection, Mobility Management Program Implementation Study Funding Agreement, Sub-Allocation of American Rescue Plan Act Transit Formula Funds, and Policy Framework for Use of Wake Transit Funds to Acquire Real Property.

The meeting concluded after about two and a half hours. Our next meeting will be in August. Here is more about the meeting.

Friday – NC Metro Mayors Meeting Recap

Friday the North Carolina Metro Mayors met for about half an hour. The following is a summary of that meeting from the Executive Director:

Federal Update

American Rescue Plan

  • Nothing new to report on ARP.
  • Beau will be conducting weekly peer to peer zoom session beginning next week for cities to share with each other and serve as a forum for best practices. Please identify a senior staff contact for your city to participate and organize these sessions. Email your city’s contact name to [email protected].

Infrastructure Bill (American Jobs Plan)

  • A bi-partisan group of 20 senators have been working together on a compromise and details for a $1 trillion plan are expected to be made public next week.  Multi-modal transportation and water/sewer are the primary components, but we have not seen any specific details yet.
  • Both US Senators from NC are a part of the bi-partisan group working on this bill.
  • Beau will be working on arranging a Zoom meeting with both Senators early next week, so keep an eye out for more information.  It will be open to all Mayors but will plan on designating certain speakers.

General Assembly – General Update

  • The Senate has announced they will be releasing their budget proposal next Monday.  We anticipate it will be heard in committees at the beginning of the week and voted out of the Senate and sent to the House by the end of next week.
  • The House is already working behind closed doors on their counter proposal.
  • The Legislative Fiscal Research Division and the Office of State Budget and Management issued a revised joint revenue forecast this week predicting a $6B surplus over the next two years.  However, the total spending number between the House and Senate was already agreed on prior to this revenue update, so they will not deviate from that negotiated number.
  • A massive energy bill was introduced by the House this week (H951).  (Full bill is attached to the notes – not available online when this email was sent).The goal is to speed up North Carolina’s transition away from coal power plants to natural gas and other renewable energy sources.
    • It would retire five of the state’s subcritical coal fired generating facilities by December 31, 2030.
    • It would reduce carbon output by 61 percent over the next 6 years relative to 2005 figures.  (The Governor has set a goal of 70 percent reduction).
    • The bill was heard in the House Energy and Public Utilities Committee on Thursday for discussion only.
    • There are still concerns from various stakeholders and many have not yet made a position on the bill.  We expect more work to be done on the bill in the coming weeks.
    • Public Utilities Commission staff is expected to release the anticipated rate changes from this legislation next week.


  • The Metro Mayors Coalition was represented on a special TEN Commission led by Senator Vickie Sawyer. The goal of the Commission is to look at transportation financing needs for the next ten years.
  • The bi-partisan Commission was chaired by Senators Vickie Sawyer (R-Iredell/Yadkin) and Tom McInnis (R-Richmond). Senators Lazzara (R-Onslow/previously the President of NCLM), Woodard, (D-Durham), and deViere (D-Cumberland) all participated.
  • The Commission’s proposed changes included Electric Vehicle and Hybrid Vehicle registration fees and taxes associated with Transportation Network Companies and E-Commerce deliveries
  • The Commission also proposed an increase in the Highway Use Tax from 3 percent to 5 percent (still less than most nearby states).  This would result in an additional about $400M in funding for transportation.
  • The Commission is working with bill drafting staff to draft legislation that reflects their recommendations.
  • Senator Sawyer has been invited by Mayor Miles Atkins to speak to a future Metro Mayors weekly update meeting.

Local Revenues/Local Control

Revise Local Gov’t Redistricting/Census S722 the “Delayed Municipal Elections Bill”

  • A House amendment included in the bill would postpone the City of Raleigh’s elections to next year and then permanently move their elections to even years in November.
  • The Senate concurred with the House changes on Monday and the bill has been sent to the Governor for consideration.
  • The Governor has not indicated whether he will sign the bill. The Governor can either sign it into law, veto it, or let it become law without his signature. In North Carolina, if the Governor does not sign a bill within 10 days, the bill becomes law.
  • If you are supportive of the bill, you should reach out to the Governor’s office to let them know of your support, which could help as he and his staff consider how he will handle the bill.

Government Transparency Act of 2021 H64

  • We have discussed this bill in the past.  This bill requires that most personnel actions for ALL public employees be made available to the public (includes all municipal employees) – require dates and description of all dismissals, promotions, transfers and demotions. The Senate amended it to add a requirement that dismissals or demotions must have exhausted all employee appeals before the information is made public.
  • While it did pass unanimously in the House, after it was amended by the Senate, the House voted not to concur with the bill. It will now be sent to a Conference Committee.
  • Governor Cooper sponsored a very similar bill when he was serving in the NC Senate. While we cannot be sure, we anticipate that the Governor would sign this bill into law if presented to him.

Private Commercial Inspection System H865

  • H865 would authorize the North Carolina Code Officials Qualification Board (Q-Board) to certify, register, and regulate private inspectors to conduct inspections of commercial buildings and structures for compliance with the State Building Code and to issue certificates of compliance with the Code.
  • Sections 2 and 3 of the bill speak specifically to local governments and their interactions with private commercial inspectors (PCIs).
  • The bill passed the House Committee on Local Government – Land Use, Planning and Development and was referred to the House Finance Committee.

Plan Review & Cert. of Occup. Scope Changes H853

  • This is a significant bill that would erode local authority to protect community standards and manage growth. The development community is the strongest advocate for this bill.
  • The bill was for discussion only in the Local Government Committee this week.
  • It is unclear whether this bill will move forward, but if it starts gaining ground in the legislative process, we may be calling on you to reach out to your local delegation to let them know of your position on the bill.

Public Safety – nothing to report from NCGA

Economic Development – nothing to report from NCGA

Town Manager’s Report

Due to the Juneteenth holiday, there is no Council Weekly Report or Weekly Operational Report this week. Town Manager, Sean Stegall’s next update will be in next week’s Harold’s Blog on Monday, June 28.

Mayor’s Mailbox

Emails from citizens this week included:

  • A complaint about a contractor and stormwater runoff
  • A complaint that we are not doing enough to encourage vaccines
  • Several complaints about a crosswalk at Ederlee and Whitcomb which was false information spread by social media.
  • A question about the Downtown Park funding
  • A complaint about the utility bill autopay

Next week’s activities will include staff meetings, a meeting of the Wake County Mayors Association, a meeting of the Economic Development Committee, the last council regularly scheduled meeting of June and the fiscal year, a meeting of the North Carolina Metro Mayors, and the downtown park groundbreaking.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, June 27th.  Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communication with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to [email protected]and email personal comments to [email protected].

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

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