Cary Town Council Approves $307 Million Budget for Upcoming Fiscal Year
CARY, NC – At their regular meeting tonight, the Cary Town Council adopted a $307 million Fiscal Year 2014 budget, a work and management plan that implements a voter-approved two-cents property tax increase to fund the Cary Community Investment Bonds and puts into effect several other modest but necessary fee adjustments. Effective July 1 and for the first time since 1989, Cary’s property tax rate is increasing by two cents to 35 cents per $100 valuation, a tax rate that remains the lowest in Wake County. Residential garbage, recycling and yard waste fees are increasing $1 per month – last raised five years ago -- and there will be a five percent increase in building permit fees – last raised over a decade ago. Cary utility customers will also see a rise in utility rates to help pay for the community’s share of the State-mandated Western Wake Regional Wastewater Management Facilities set to come online next summer; the 4.7 percent increase equates to about $2.83 more per month for residents using 4,500 gallons of water.
“This was one of the toughest budget development years I can remember in Cary. It was extremely difficult to find the funding we needed to maintain our high service levels not to mention trying to address pent-up community demand for more,” said Town Manager Ben Shivar.
In a first for the municipality, the FY14 Budget allows for the transfer of $4.5 million of general capital reserve fund balance to the general fund to assist in the early pay off of $6.1 million of the 2003 general obligation bond debt. Early pay off of this debt with no penalty saves $2.2 million in anticipated debt payments in each of the next three years beginning with the upcoming fiscal year; it accounts for the primary difference in the budget totals between Town Manager Ben Shivar’s proposed budget of $304 million and the Council’s adopted budget of $307 million.
“The savings that resulted from paying off this debt early made all the difference in our being able to address ongoing operational needs, especially many of the new positions approved for the coming year,” said Shivar.
The adopted budget funds 29.75 new positions. Nearly 60 percent of these positions are required to operate the Western Wake Regional Wastewater Management Facilities, positions being paid for with the utility rate increase. Other positions include a therapeutic recreation specialist, a domestic violence police detective, four technology services professionals, and a multi-trade building safety code official; the cost of the code official is being paid for with the five percent building permit fee increase. The additional positions bring the Town’s total staffing to 1,200 or about 8.3 staff members for each 1,000 Cary residents—one of the lowest staff-to-citizen ratios in the state and still less than the Town’s FY 2007 ratio, even though over 30,000 people have moved to and required services from Cary since then.
“While our budget was able to fund several new positions, it’s important to remember there are still many more needed to help provide relief to staff members who are continuing to go well above and beyond the call of duty for several years,” said Shivar.
Other highlights of the adopted budget include $66.4 million to expand the Cary/Apex Water Treatment Plant, a project with a two-year construction schedule that will be financially supported in part by the Town of Apex, which co-owns the plant with Cary, as well as utility customers in Morrisville, RDU, and the Wake County portion of RTP. It reserves $4 million for street resurfacing, $2.1 million for the Morrisville Parkway Interchange onto the Triangle Expressway, and 19 other projects related to repair, renovation or replacement. Overall, the adopted budget holds new operational spending to only three percent.
As in the past, this year’s budget preparation included February’s being dedicated specifically to collecting budget priorities from citizens. Over 115 citizens participated, a level that is more than the last three years combined. The Town Council held a work session on May 14, 2013 to review and discuss the budget as well as public hearings at each of its regular Council meetings on May 23 and June 13. North Carolina Law requires local governments to adopt a balanced budget by June 30 since the new fiscal year starts July 1.
While the Town Manager’s proposed budget is already available online, the adopted budget is expected to be available by the end of August at www.townofcary.org. Printed copies of the adopted budget are also expected to be available by the end of August for review at Town Hall and at the Cary public library in downtown Cary and at the West Regional Library, 4000 Louis Stephens Drive.
Ben Shivar, Town Manager, (919) 469-4007
Mike Bajorek, Assistant Town Manager, (919) 469-4003
Deanna Boone, Deputy Public Information Officer, (919) 462-3908
Susan Moran, Public Information Director, (919) 380-4240
FY14 Proposed Budget and List of Associated Town Council Adopted Changes
Cary Community Investment Bonds
Western Wake Regional Wastewater Management Facilities
Budget Public Input Summary