Harold’s Blog: The 2022 State of Cary

Cary, NC — This week I was scheduled for a trip to Miami on Wednesday which was canceled. As a result, there were not a lot of activities on my calendar.

Weekly 1:1 with the Town Manager

Tuesday I met virtually with the town manager for our weekly one-on-one. Our topics of discussion included downtown development, future ordinances, intergovernmental meetings, the Eastern Gateway developments, and the DEI task force. Our meeting was less than thirty minutes.

2022 State of Cary

Wednesday morning I delivered my annual State of Cary address to a couple hundred people in the Prestonwood Country Club ballroom. I wrote the address in the first week of the year. Then it was passed to staff for fact checks and suggestions. The town clerk’s office created the slide deck from my drafted text. I am grateful for their work on this since it takes a LOT of time.

My main message was that we are doing very well despite being in the middle of a pandemic. It was captured in the opening:

“…As we begin 2022 and in spite of the continuing personal and professional challenges and tragic losses which cannot be overstated, my assessment as your mayor is that Cary’s todays and tomorrows have never shone more brightly.

Why? Because we have the people with talent and skills. We listen to and care for each other, because we are intentional in how we collect and spend your money, because we not only plan but also execute on those plans, because we focus on what unites us instead of what divides us, Cary continues to be an unparalleled place to call home. …”

You can find the complete State of Cary Address and the slides I spoke from on the Town website.

Town Manager Report

The town manager’s report for this week included the following:

Sean’s Message

It was so nice to see so many familiar faces at the Mayor’s State of Cary address on Wednesday. For me, the mayor’s annual presentation contributes to renewed excitement for the year ahead. To echo the Mayor, Cary is in a great place, and we have so much to look forward to this year.

With an experienced Council, remarkable staff, and passionate citizens, I am confident Cary will continue to be a special place.

Have a great weekend.

Winter Weather

It’s our third consecutive winter weather weekend, and we’re cautiously optimistic that accumulation this time will be minimal. Nevertheless, all operational teams are preparing in case we see something more substantial, and crews have brined all the major roads ahead of the storm.

Public Works crews will report at 10 PM. Friday night and be active until Sunday morning to operate plows and tend to any slick spots. Staff is monitoring forecasts and will announce any service changes on the Town’s website, by email, and on social media.

COVID-19 Update

Cary and Wake County remain in a high transmission state. There are 89 active cases among town employees bringing the total to 416 since the pandemic began. Town employees have a vaccination rate of 89% while citizens over the age of five have a vaccination rate of 76%. Cary has the second highest vaccination rate in the county. Cary has the second lowest infection rate in the county.

Election Update

The Governor has vetoed HB605 which would have changed the election date to June 7, 2022. In his veto he states that “The constitutionality of congressional and legislative districts is now in the hands of the North Carolina Supreme Court and the Court should have the opportunity to decide how much time is needed to ensure that our elections are constitutional.”

The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments next week. The Court may change the election date, but until then it will remain May 17, 2022.

Covid-19 Wastewater Tracking

COVID-19 wastewater testing data for Cary is available on the NCDHHS – NC Wastewater Monitoring Network website , along with other COVID-19 response health metrics. In October 2021, Cary began its participation in a Wake County Public Health funded project that is in coordination with NCDHHS that tracks COVID-19 trends in sewer systems.

Cary collects influent wastewater at our three water reclamation facilities twice a week to test for concentrations of COVID-19 RNA fragments. Wake County coordinates data management, sampling, and record keeping for high-quality metrics for public health action. Wake County will assess wastewater data against other available health indicators to work with the CDC, NCDHHS, Cary and other communities to improve and better manage the pandemic.

The project is expected to continue through at least August 2022. For more information visit Cary’s Tracking COVID-19 webpage.

SolSmart Community Designation from Department of Energy

Cary is excited to receive the SolSmart Silver Level Community Designation from the U.S. Department of Energy. The SolSmart program helps local governments make systematic improvements to make it faster, easier, and more affordable for residents and businesses to go solar.

To receive this designation Cary improved upon existing permitting and planning procedures, facilitated staff training opportunities, and expanded education efforts including a new solar webpage that provides Cary-specific solar information, resources, and guidelines. Continuing an upward trend, the Town experienced a 53% increase in solar permitting during calendar year 2021.

Cary is proud to provide increased access to renewable energy solutions, an important part of reducing carbon emissions and building a sustainable and resilient community.

USA Baseball National Training Center Improvements

Construction will begin soon on the USA Baseball Training Complex. The construction contract and building permit were approved and a pre-construction meeting will be held Monday, Jan. 31. The project will be completed in two phases in order to maintain event parking and pedestrian access to the main entrance during construction.

Phase One will involve new underground stormwater and utility work and reshaping the existing parking lot for the new 40,000-square-foot facility. The start date of phase one is Feb. 14 and construction is estimated to be completed on May 18. Phase two includes the construction of the new office and training facility which will overlap with the end of phase one with an estimated completion date in Summer 2023.

Upcoming Meetings

Hybrid Senior Advisory Board
Wednesday, Feb. 2 at 2 PM

Virtual Neighborhood Rezoning Meeting
Wednesday, Feb. 2 at 6:30 PM

Mayor’s Mailbox

I received several emails requesting support of the Laurel rezoning which is a town-initiated multi-family development near Cary Towne Boulevard and SE Maynard. If approved it would have 130 multi-family units, with half designated as affordable, on 7.06 acres. The Public Hearing for this rezoning has yet to be scheduled. Council’s decision will be months after the Public Hearing.

Other emails from citizens included:

  • A complaint about classes canceled at the Senior Center without notification (staff apologized and as rectified the problem)
  • A complaint about the Hatcher rezoning proposal
  • A complaint about not having a mask mandate
  • A request to have tobacco-free parks (my understanding is that this would require legislative approval)
  • A complaint about poor road conditions in Walnut Hills (improvements were delayed because of sewer line updates and road improvements should begin in April)
  • Comments about Cary’s and Morrisville’s diversity

Next week’s activities include staff meetings, a meeting of the Atlantic Tire Championships board, a taping of the short version of the State of Cary address, a podcast with Reward Builders, a photo op at the Cary Food Waste Drop-Off, and a meeting of the North Carolina Metro Mayors.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, February 6th. 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 [email protected] and email personal comments to [email protected].

From the blog of Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht. Images by Ashley Kairis and the Town of Cary.

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