The Town of Cary is 60 square miles in area and has approximately 160,000 residents. The work of the Town is primarily supported by our property taxes, sales taxes, impact fees on new development, and utility payments. With an operating budget of $228.6 million and a capital budget of $91.4 million, the Town of Cary organization:
- plans for future development and infrastructure
- establishes ordinances (which are local laws)
- regulates development
- inspects and permits all buildings under construction
- provides and manages
- law enforcement/public safety
- fire protection
- water, sewer, and reclaimed water
- stormwater protection
- trash and recycling collection
- parks, venues, greenways, and cultural opportunities
- roads and traffic signals (to complement what is provided by NCDOT)
- traffic management
- fixed route and door-to-door transit
- environmental and sustainability practices
Our Town is led by a Town Council which is comprised of seven elected officials: a mayor, two at-large representatives, and four district representatives. As citizens living in District A, we are represented by Mayor Harold Weinbrecht, At-large representatives Lori Bush and Ed Yerha, and District representative Jennifer Robinson.
The Town Council is responsible for setting the tax rate and establishing the direction for the Town through the Cary Community Plan and other plans, the budget, development approvals/denials, policies, and ordinances. However, the Town of Cary staff runs the Town's operations. The Town Council directly hires three fulltime, professional staff: the Town Attorney, Town Clerk, and Town Manager. With the exception of the Town Attorney and Town Clerk, the staff is led by Town Manager, Sean Stegall, who serves as the Town's Chief Executive Officer. Stegall oversees 13 departments which are responsible for providing a wide range of services and infrastructure.
Town of Cary meetings are open to the public. The bi-monthly Town Council meetings provide an opportunity for people to address the Council. This portion of the meeting, called "Public Speaks Out," allows 3 minutes for any individual to speak before the Council and have his issue heard. Council Meetings are usually on Thursday evenings and happen twice per month. Click here for the current schedule as well as upcoming agendas. This site also contains past videos of each meeting and minutes from meetings in the past.
Below are the projects at the Town level that we as a community have been advocating for:
Mills park Community Center/Mills park Expansion
Our top priority PRCR (Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resources) project for the Town of Cary. Although this project is estimated to cost $16 million, this would have an incredibly positive impact on the tens of thousands of people that call Northwest Cary home. Realistically, this will be funded through an upcoming bond referendum through the Town of Cary, that we are pushing to vote on in 2017. If the referendum were to pass, funds would be available starting in FY2019 (fiscal year July 2018-June 2019). We also are advocating for additional planned phases of Mills Park to be put into place and advanced. Specifically, we are looking forward to the construction of baseball fields to be constructed at the Mills Park location.
Last Action: A Request for Qualifications (RFQ) was released by the Town of Cary for a "Western Cary Community Facility Study". This was released after a more specific "Mills Park Community Center" RFQ was released and withdrawn by the town a few months ago. The purpose of this as communicated by the Town is to "think bigger" with the plans for the Mills Park Community Center and create something iconic. The Mills Park Trailhead (Phase 2) is to begin construction Spring of 2018 with the construction of an additional segment of the Panther Creek Greenway. The project had to be rebid as all bids in the Fall were significantly over budget. The rebid closes on January 23rd, 2018. We should know more about the next steps after the rebids come in.
Next Step: The RFQ deadline is February 1st, 2018. The Town will then review applicants and select a firm to start the planning process for this facility. The timeline has significant progress on this vision being finished by the end of 2018.
Cameron Pond Park
Cameron Pond Park is projected by the Town of Cary to be a $6.2 million park, initially voted by the Cary Town Council to be expedited in 2009. Although it had always been a "programmed" project, this plan changed with the FY2017 budget in favor of building Morris Branch Park more quickly. It is our hope that other parks can be built in a timely manner. Cameron Pond Park, if built according to the Concept Plan, would provided a much needed dog park in the area as well as much needed tennis courts (need determined by recent survey of Northwest Cary residents, for more details, see www.cameronpondpark.com). As Northwest Cary still has no neighborhood parks, building this park in addition to Morris Branch would serve our area well with two unique parks that boast different features.
Last Action: After being funded in the FY2018 budget, the master planning and design of this park has started already. Two artists have been hired to help assist Surface 678, the firm responsible for the planning and design process, develop identities for the parks.
Next Step: There will be a community meeting in January/February 2018 at the Northwest Cary YMCA/Crosspointe Church Facility to give input about the park amenities and designs. Stay tuned for updates, you can also check the Town of Cary website devoted to the park by clicking here.
Panther creek Greenway Completion - American Tobacco trail to historic CArpenter Park
The 2012 Parks Bond Referendum has funded design and construction of the segment from Green Level Church Road to the western edge of Cameron Pond. Developer agreements have also funded portions between NC-55 and the current stopping point of the greenway at the western edge of Cameron Pond. We are advocating for the small amount of greenway required to link the future Northwest Cary YMCA with Mills Park Elementary and Middle Schools as well as the small segment from Cary Park Lake to Yates Store Road that would provide connectivity to the American Tobacco Trail. Long-term, we are advocating for connection across NC-55 to Historic Carpenter Park.
Last Action: The Panther Creek Greenway will be extended to the new Cameron Pond Park (as well as the Northwest Cary YMCA), with this trail segment likely to be completed in 2020. We were also notified that the Montvale Greenway is being built by a developer and will connect the main portion of the Panther Creek Greenway to the American Tobacco Trail via the Southbridge Greenway.
Next Step: We are currently exploring how to connect the Panther Creek Greenway to the Northwest Cary YMCA sooner. Options are currently being explored in discussing actions with nearby private landowners and the Northwest Cary YMCA and Crosspointe Church.
Morris branch park
Morris Branch Park is a planned 20 acre park to be placed at the corner of McCrimmon Parkway and Green Level Church Road. The concept plan, created in 2012, lists two different children's play areas, a rock climbing structure, a reservable picnic shelter with restroom, two lighted basketball courts, trail access to the Morris Branch Greenway via tunnel underneath Green Level Church Road, as well as 4-8 multi-purpose courts. The Town of Cary has officially hired a firm to design this park (along with Cameron Pond Park and an additional segment of the Panther Creek Greenway), who will be reaching out to the public soon to get input on desired features for this park. Reportedly, it is the same firm that designed the recent built Jack Smith Park. To follow the latest updates from the Town of Cary, check out the new section of the Town of Cary website devoted to this park by clicking here.