Cary, NC — This was a busy week for me.
Making Preparations for Thursday Council Meeting
Monday I attempted to contact council members to hear of concerns or questions they had about the upcoming regular meeting agenda. Comments were made about the Dellinger rezoning proposal and the Mills rezoning public hearing. Later in the day I met with staff and went over the agenda.
My last meeting on Monday was with the town manager, chief strategy officer, council member Smith, and council member Robinson. We went over the branding efforts by the Economic Development Committee and the Information Services Advisory Board to make sure we had a clear understanding of their recommendations.
Auditioning for a Play About Cary
Tuesday I auditioned for a part in the play about the history of Cary. This play is a part of Cary’s 150th celebration.
Speaking at the Cary Chamber Planning Conference
Wednesday I attended the Cary Chamber’s Planning Conference. The event was well attended by elected officials and business leaders. I gave a brief motivational type of talk with a message that, despite the tragedies of the pandemic, Cary is at its best today and will be even better tomorrow.
I joined the town manager and several council members in talking about Cary’s branding effort which should be up for a council decision in the coming few weeks.
Ted Abernathy, a Managing Partner of Economic Leadership LLC, provided data about the economy in the U.S. and North Carolina. He noted that finding workers for businesses will continue to be a problem but pointed out that the Cary area is doing better than most. The conference was a great success.
Wednesday night I was able to attend the Atlantic Tire Tennis Championships and see great professionals in action. The match I viewed featured Jack Sock who was once ranked 8th in the world. The event had almost a full house even though it was in the middle of the week.
Public Able to Return to Council Meeting Chambers
Thursday the council held its only regularly scheduled meeting of the month. The agenda included a history moment from Cary’s 150th celebration, 7 consent items, 3 public hearings, and 3 discussion items.
Under discussion, the Dellinger proposal for 285 multi-family dwelling units, up to 50,000 square feet of office use, and up to 20 townhouses to be located at the intersection of Piney Plains Road and Dillard Drive. This passed with a 4 to 3 vote with dissenters complaining about too many apartments (over 3,000), not enough mix in affordable housing, and not enough affordable housing.
The Roberts Road proposal for 16 dwelling units on Roberts Road next to Green Level High school was approved by a 6 to 1 vote. The lone dissenter complained that it should have been denser.
Presenting at Tennis Championship & 150th Celebration
Saturday I attended the doubles finals at the Atlantic Tire Tennis Championships that was held at the Cary Tennis Center. My role was to congratulate the players and thank the crowd and sponsors. In addition, I presented the trophies to the finalists and the champions.
Saturday night I attended the Cary 150 celebration in downtown Cary. It was a day of celebration with entertainment and food. I gave remarks before the light show that was titled “Journey Through a Dream of Light” which was projected onto the Cary Arts Center. A documentary called “Cary at 150” played at The Cary Arts Center throughout the evening at the Cary Arts Center. There will be another celebration in downtown Cary on July 31st.
Recreating a Historic Cake Cutting for the Sesquicentennial
Sunday I had the privilege of cutting a cake celebrating Cary’s 150th anniversary. When Cary turned 100, Ann Massey Driscoll made a cake for the town to celebrate. She took pictures with it and Mayor Bond (my uncle). It was really a special event for me to reproduce this at our 150th anniversary. We are so very grateful to Ms. Driscoll for making this huge cake (served over 80).
Sunday afternoon I attended the single championships at the Atlantic Tire Tennis Championships. After the first set I did a short interview with the broadcast covering the USTA challenger series. After the match was concluded, I presented the finalist trophy and main sponsor, Anthony Blackmond presented the Champions trophy.
Town Manager’s Report
The town manager, Sean Stegall’s report for this week included:
Manager’s Message To Council
As I said at our meeting last night, the pandemic continues to be a time of experimentation.
By having 311 Advocates now in the lobby, we’re going to try implementing several of the security recommendations that resulted from a facility safety study completed some time ago.
Since we now know that the vast majority of citizen business can be successfully accomplished remotely, we’re also testing an 8:30 AM opening time for the public. This extra time in the morning will help staff prepare for the day, including face-to-face citizen exchanges.
Yesterday on Day 1 of reopening, we had only 11 citizens come to Town Hall during the day, one of several data points we’ll be tracking as we determine which experiments to fully implement and which to discard.
Please share your feedback and experiences with me, as I always find your observations to be helpful.
It was good to be with you in person last night as well as at the Planning Conference on Wednesday, and I hope everyone’s going to be able to enjoy at least some of tomorrow’s 150th activities.
Public Safety Update
Cary continues to monitor the impacts of COVID-19 and the contagious Delta variant.
To date, 94 percent of cases and hospitalizations in the state are in people who have not been vaccinated, so we will continue to encourage those that can be vaccinated to do so now. For information on vaccine locations, click here.
This week Governor Cooper announced Executive Order (EO) 220 will expire on July 30 at 5 PM. This will eliminate statewide mask requirements. However, those that are unvaccinated will be encouraged to continue wearing a mask indoors and follow CDC and NCDHHS guidance.
Mayor Throws First Pitch
Before heading to Tokyo to compete in the Olympic baseball competition, the U.S. Olympic Team played three exhibition games against the Collegiate National Team. Two of those games were held in Cary at the USA Baseball National Training Complex.
The game on Sunday night featured a military recognition, an Apache helicopter, and Cary’s Mayor Harold Weinbrecht throwing out the first pitch for an exciting 8-3 finish in front of 2,217 fans.
FY21 Financial Audit
The audit of the FY21 financials have begun. Council approved Cherry Bekaert to continue as Cary’s external auditor for the next three fiscal years during the June 10 Council meeting.
Cherry Bekaert has already begun requesting documentation and staff has been working diligently to fulfill these requests. In addition, the auditors are conducting fraud interviews with the Mayor, selected Council, and staff, as these interviews are routine for the annual audit.
The auditors are scheduled to conduct detailed testing of Cary’s financial information the week of August 9. For the next several months, staff will be working to close FY 2021, fulfill all audit requests, and prepare the Annual Comprehensive Financial Report.
The Cool Roadways Pilot Project
Every year Cary performs a type of road maintenance called “rejuvenation” in which a product is sprayed on approximately 25 miles of asphalt to help extend the life and quality of roads within the town.
As part of our standard rejuvenation process this summer and on a limited basis, Cary will be piloting titanium dioxide (TiO2), a product that has the potential to reduce heat and emissions on our roadways.
Cary, in collaboration with the Global Cool Cities Alliance, is exploring the effectiveness and feasibility of this product. The pilot will study the impacts of adding Titanium dioxide, a clear compound that has been shown in labs to reduce the heat and smog generated by roads and cars. After applying TiO2, Cary will work with scientists at North Carolina State University to study the impacts of TiO2 on heat and air in Cary.
Scientists estimate the research will take approximately 1.5 years, after which they will generate a report on the effectiveness of TiO2. If the results are positive, staff will assess if TiO2 could become another tool Cary uses to create a healthier environment for Cary’s citizens.
The photo above shows the typical (non-TiO2) rejuvenation product being applied. The product goes on pink, and as it dries, fades to clear. The rejuvenation product with TiO2 application will look the same, starting pink then drying clear. Click here to learn more.
Supplemental Information Provided to Council
The FY 2021 adopted budget documents are now available on Cary’s website. Click here to learn more.
Emails from citizens this week included:
- Complaints about a proposed rezoning at the entrance of Wellington for a dentist office
- A complaint about amplified music being played at Bond Park
- A complaint about the proposed Hatcher rezoning
- A complaint about cars not yielding to pedestrians on Yates Store Road between O’Kelly Chapel and Carpenter Fire Station
- A concern about houses being torn down to build bigger ones
- A question about whether council meetings are open to the public (ABSOLUTELY!)
- A thanks for the future traffic signal at High House and Jenks Carpenter
Next week’s activities include staff meetings, a meeting about future professional tennis tournaments, a meeting of the North Carolina Metro Mayors, and the Celebrate Cary 150 Celebration in downtown.
Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, August 1st. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the blog of Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht. Images from Town of Cary.
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