State of The Town with Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht
January 24th, 2014
The MPT is on the scene at the Cary Chamber of Commerce gathering at Prestonwood Country Club to hear the Mayor tell us all about how we are doing in the Town of Cary. Here are a few notes I took from the meeting.
The mayor has been involved in politics in Cary for 17 years. He is a software engineer at SAS and likes to say, “I wasnt born here but I got here as fast as I could”.
Harold wants to point out our strenghts, our challenges, and our path forward to keep Cary one of the best places to live in America.
The Town of Cary employs over 1100 people in running the town and has some of the best staff in the country. The town manager recently reorganized the structure of the town staff. They have three functional areas: Development Service, Infrastructure, Public Safety and Operations. The reorganization began in the spring of 2013 and will be completed in November of 2014. This structure will provide for more streamlined management of the town without any additional expense or staff.
The job picture is good. Unemployment is 4.7% with 760 new businesses in the last year. Big players are Metlife, DB Global, Extreme Networks, GE Energy and aaP3. Other new businesses, Bass Pro Shops, Stones Education Supply, Fortnight Brewery just to name a few.
Cary is the safest municipality in the nation. We are a Tree City for the 30th consecutive year. Cary has one of the largeest solar farms in the state. LED street lights are being installed in all street lights which will save $200000. a year. Aquastar web portal monitors water usage and saves citizens water and money.
22% of the town is over 65. 19% are from other countries. Over 66% have a college education.
Cary is 60 square miles and is the 7th largest municipality in NC.
The Town added 9 miles of streets last year and has over 600 miles of street in town limits with approximately 70 miles of greenway.
Western Wake Regional Wastewater Mangemnt facility is coming on line this year. Water Plant expansion is underway.
Safe community, dramatic decrease in crime due to Project Phoenix and citizen involvement. Geo Policing lets captains and officers know a specific area very well. Citizens Assisting Police is a volunteer group of citizens trained to help police.
Fire Dept internationally recognized. All firefighters are trained EMS first responders.
Parks and Recreation: The town has 29 parks. The Cary Theatre should open late February with a focus on digital arts, multi use and youth. There are three major sports venues, Cary Tennis Center, WakeMed Soccer Park, USA Baseball Training Complex. These 3 have generated 40 million dollars in economic impact.
Finances are in strong shape. Lowest tax rate in Wake County. Highest rating from all bond agencies. We have a 15% debt ceiling. Last year 17 million dollars under budget.
Operating budget has not kept up with growing population. Service levels may be at risk.
Development Request: more infill request, cary is 75% residential, office/retail demand is low, single family is difficult due to land availability, must preserve quality of life.
Cary has a diverse business base with approximately 20% base in information services. This can be good and bad. With large segments of the business in several fields we are more succeptible to any one being hit by a downturn. This is still much better than having an economy based on one industry.
Downtown Revitalization is happening but we must keep momentum going. The first phase of downown park. planned to be 7 acres, is under way but only 2 acres are funded. The Cary Library will move across Academy Street and a four diamond boutique hotel will be built next to it.
Imagine Cary, the effort by the town that involves the most citizen input, is planning a remarkable Cary for 2040. This is where the Committee For The Future will be working to create a community wide vision. Get involved and stay involved.
Cary: Where Better Living Begins
Adding additional council meeting to accomodate more citizen input.