Cary Town Council Adopts FY20 Budget with Focus on Maintaining Services and Infrastructure
Cary, NC – At its June 27, 2019 meeting, the Cary Town Council approved a $336.5 million budget for Fiscal Year 2020, which runs from July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020. The budget allocates $261.4 million for operations and $75.1 million for capital projects.
Highlights: This is 3.2% less than the approved budget for FY19; No new positions added for the first time in 20 years; Budget focuses on maintaining current services.
Cary’s property tax rate will not have to go up this year, remaining unchanged at 35 cents per $100 of real property value. To address increasing recycling costs and get closer to recovering the full, actual cost of the service, the monthly solid waste fee increases $2.50, from $17 to $19.50 per month. To offset this increase, utility rates include a two percent increase for a typical household, rather than a previously projected three percent.
“Much like a well-performing mutual fund, Cary has proven decade after decade that it’s one of the best investments you can find. When you give the Town money, it raises everyone’s return on their investment because we turn that money into high quality services and amenities,” said Town Manager Sean Stegall.
The general capital budget allocates $19.2 million (approximately 52%) toward maintenance of existing infrastructure. The utility capital budget sees $10 million (27%) focused solely on water and sewer line maintenance. Approximately $484,000 is included in the operating budget for new initiatives, including $200,000 for updates to the Town’s Land Development Ordinance (LDO); $75,000 to support network security upgrades for protection against ransomware and other attacks; and other expenditures like the purchase and maintenance costs for five drones to be used in emergency response and surveying.
“Cary has significant immediate and longer-term capital needs that go well beyond this year’s budget, especially when it comes to refreshing our existing parks and maintaining our streets. The Town’s ability to address these needs will be governed by how Cary citizens vote on this fall’s bond questions,” Stegall said. Cary is preparing for a $225 million referendum on October 8, 2019 -- $113 million of the total for transportation and the remaining $112 million going toward parks and recreation projects.
For the second year in a row, department directors worked collaboratively to identify the organization’s overall needs and submitted a unified recommendation to the Town Manager. The result is a budget that more closely aligns the organization’s resources with community priorities as outlined in the Imagine Cary Community Plan. Adopted by the Town Council in January 2017, the plan sets Cary’s course through 2040 and addresses where and how citizens will live, shop, work, move, and much more.
“The Directors’ collaborative achievement this year is evidence that we’re progressing in organizational development,” said Stegall. “We are creating a culture that simply doesn’t exist in most governments – a culture that is essential to implementing Imagine Cary and keeping Cary great.”
Stegall recommends 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, the adopted FY 2020 budget includes a base operating budget that maintains Cary’s high service levels while reserving $1.1 million for the Town Council to appropriate throughout the year as issues and opportunities emerge.
The Town Council adopted the budget at the regular Cary Town Council meeting on June 27. North Carolina law requires local governments to adopt a balanced budget by June 30 since the new fiscal year starts July 1.
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 Cary continues to transition from a growing community to a maturing community, our historical business model of never increasing taxes while saying ‘yes’ to everything won’t be sustainable. Future tax increases will be required for operations, maintenance, and capital projects to keep Cary what it is today,” Stegall added.
View the Recommended Budget now at www.townofcary.org/budget. Printed copies of the full adopted budget document will be available for review starting September 27 online and 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 Street.
Karen Mills, Chief Financial Officer, (919) 469-4110
Susan Moran, Chief Strategy Officer, (919) 460-4951
Deanna Hawkes, Deputy Public Information Officer, (919) 380-4240