Cary Town Manager’s Proposed FY 19 Budget Maintains Services, Focuses on Infrastructure Improvements
- $347 million recommended budget increases investments in public safety, transportation, technology, and employee development;
- Property tax rate remains unchanged while utility rates, sanitation fees, and vehicle fees rise;
- Review proposed budget online and comment during the June 14 public hearing.
Cary, NC – Cary Town Manager Sean R. Stegall is proposing a $347 million budget for Fiscal Year 2019, which runs from July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019. His recommendation allocates $251.7 million for operations and $95.2 million for capital projects.
Highlights include: 12 new firefighters to staff a ladder truck for western Cary; $8.7 million for completing the grade separation of CSX Rail at Carpenter Fire Station Road; $3.2 million for land acquisition associated with the Carpenter Fire Station Road widening; $2.7 million for stormwater assistance and drainage improvements; plus $500,000 for continued downtown revitalization and $215,000 to renovate portions of two community centers. An increased focus on employee training and the implementation of new technology to improve organizational efficiency and drive engagement are also included in his proposal.
To pay for these and other initiatives, Cary’s property tax rate will not have to go up this year, remaining unchanged at 35 cents per $100 of real property value. However, Stegall proposes to improve streets and sidewalks by raising the annual vehicle license fee from $15 to $30. And to get closer to recovering the full, actual cost of the service, the monthly solid waste fee increases a dollar - from $16 to $17 per month. Utility rates will also rise - three percent for a typical household.
“Many, if not most, local governments are unprepared for the future, on issues ranging from retirement and infrastructure to automation and worker retraining. Not in Cary. We are investing in our services like never before by investing in our people to prepare them for the challenges that lie ahead. Our citizens’ expectations of us have never been greater.”
A key change in this year’s budget process was the role of department directors; rather than simply submitting independent and siloed department requests to the Town Manager, directors worked collaboratively to identify the organization’s overall needs to submit a unified recommendation to Stegall. The result is a budget that more closely aligns the organization’s resources with community priorities, which are outlined in the Imagine Cary Community Plan. Adopted by the Town Council in January 2017, Imagine Cary sets Cary’s course through 2040 and addresses where and how citizens will live, shop, work, move, engage and much more.
“Without a sense of purpose and vision like we see in the community plan, no organization, either public or private, can achieve its full potential. It will ultimately lose the license to operate from key stakeholders. It will succumb to short-term pressures and, in the process, sacrifice investments in employee development, innovation and capital expenditures that are necessary for sustained growth and prosperity,” Stegall said.
In this, his second budget since becoming Cary’s CEO 21 months ago, Stegall anticipates the continuation of the quarterly rolling budget concept he introduced last year, which facilitates the organization’s evolution towards increased responsiveness, agility and accountability. To this end, his proposal for FY 2019 includes the adoption of a base operating budget that maintains Cary’s high service levels while reserving $1.8 million for the Town Council to appropriate throughout the year as issues and opportunities emerge.
“This budget builds upon past practices while also providing a platform to launch future-oriented service delivery models. It has been designed to continue to shift the organization away from an “event” oriented process to one that allows for on-going budget decision-making by the Town Council,” said Stegall.
Citizens are invited to share their thoughts on the FY 2019 budget during a public hearing at the regular Town Council meeting on June 14 at 6:30 p.m. in Council Chambers, 316 N. Academy St. The public is also invited to observe Town Council budget discussions at work sessions on May 10, June 7 and June 14 (if needed); please note that meeting times and locations vary, so visit www.townofcary.org for calendar details.
Any changes made to Stegall’s recommended budget are planned to be voted on in conjunction with the entire budget at the regular Cary Town Council meeting on June 28. North Carolina law requires local governments to adopt a balanced budget by June 30 since the new fiscal year starts July 1.
“During the preparation of the 2019 Recommended Budget, I have had the opportunity to reflect on the most pressing issues facing our community and how we must adapt to turn potential liabilities into strengths. It is a great privilege and responsibility to serve as Town Manager in order to drive the sustainable, long-term growth to Keep Cary Great,” Stegall said.
As part of the rolling budget process, citizens are encouraged to share their priorities with Council year-round during the Public Speaks Out portion of regular Council meetings; via email at firstname.lastname@example.org; by phone at 919-469-4307; by posting on the Town’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/TownofCaryNC; and on Twitter by tagging @TownofCary and using the hashtag #TOCbudget.
“As a community, we are working together to ensure Cary is ready for the future by making fiscal decisions that position us well as our community prospers,” said Stegall.
View the FY 2019 Recommended Budget now at www.townofcary.org/budget. Printed copies of the proposal will be available for review starting May 11 at the Town Clerk’s Office in Cary Town Hall and at both Wake County libraries in Cary: 4000 Louis Stephens Drive and 310 S. Academy St.
Karen Mills, Chief Financial Officer, (919) 469-4110
Susan Moran, Chief of Strategic Communications, (919) 460-4951
Deanna Hawkes, Deputy Public Information Officer, (919) 380-4240