2018 Council/Staff Retreat
February 9 was a special and unique day when Town Council and staff took a meaningful pause to reflect on our accomplishments over the past year during our annual retreat. This reflection was crucial to understanding where we are and where we want to go as a community.
The adoption of the Imagine Cary Community Plan marked a starting point one year ago that provides the ultimate charge for keeping Cary great by creating new and different service models to better serve our citizens. The adoption of the community plan was the ultimate pivot point for our community.
In addition to reflection, we also wanted the two days at the retreat to allow us to identify the things that make the Town special as well as better prepare ourselves for the adaptive challenges that lie ahead, such as stormwater issues.
We were honored to be joined by Dr. John Nalbandian, professor emeritus at the University of Kansas and former mayor of Lawrence, Kansas. Dr. Nalbandian led a session in which he discussed several themes relevant to elected officials and administrative staff, and how critical their perspectives are both separately and collectively.
One theme touched on by Dr. Nalbandian was the idea of creating model citizens. Model citizens are those individuals who understand that their quality of life depends on more than what they can do individually. Model citizens are those who say they want to give something back to their community, which is a metric of a resilient community. He used an analogy of “filling people’s cups” to demonstrate the idea of citizens having more to give back to their community.
A community-centric approach to stormwater was another focal point of the retreat. Stormwater is a clear example of how the Town must engage the community at a higher level to achieve an outcome that will lead to a more meaningful progress. Council and staff also spent time better defining the role of the Planning & Zoning Board as it relates to the Imagine Cary Community Plan. In a post-Imagine Cary world, the role of staff, Council and the Planning & Zoning Board must be discussed and continually assessed to ensure it is serving us well. The switch from a map-based approach to a policy-based approach allows for growing pains for staff, Council and the community. Other discussion items included a financial update and downtown Cary update. Overall, February’s retreat was productive on many fronts, for both Council and staff.
Mayor's State of Cary Address
On January 24, Mayor Weinbrecht delivered his annual State of Cary address to the Cary Chamber of Commerce at Prestonwood Country Club. The Mayor highlighted many of Cary’s successes over the past year, including the diversity of accolades that collectively make Cary an amazing place to live, work and play, the excitement happening in Cary’s downtown and the upcoming opportunities in the Eastern Cary Gateway. He also took a moment to remind those in the room the importance of working together and finding common ground — regardless of political persuasion — for the betterment of the community.
The Next Steps section on staff reports is intended to provide Council and citizens with a better understanding of what happens after Council takes action on an item. The following staff reports, which went to Council between January and March, have progress updates:
- Bid Award for the 2018 Water Main Replacement Project (January 11, 2018) – Both contracts, Part A and Part B, have been executed. The contractor, Pipeline Utilities, began work for Part A projects the week of March 19. Part B projects are expected to begin in April.
- Bid Award for Cary Parkway & High House Road Intersection Improvement Project (January 11, 2018) – All contracts have been executed for this project and staff is now preparing for the start of construction, anticipated in mid-April.
- FY18 Street Improvements Project (January 25, 2018) – Construction began March 19 on some smaller items, such as curb and gutter and curb ramps first. Actual repaving is anticipated to begin this summer, which will be complemented with outreach and education to our citizens.
- Wake County Hospitality Tax (January 25, 2018) – The Town submitted our application in early February and participated in an interview with Wake County staff in early March.