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Background

Since the 1980s, Cary has used voter-approved bonds as one of several financial strategies to help create and maintain the community. The most recent referendum was approved by voters in 2012 for fire, transportation, and parks initiatives. All of the funded projects are either complete or well underway.

As part of its annual budget discussion on May 9, 2019, Council and Town staff explored a number of projects that could qualify for funding with debt financing via general obligation bonds. There was agreement for a “not to exceed” total of $225 million for Cary’s next referendum: Up to $113 million going toward transportation needs and the remaining $112 million for parks and recreation needs, including preserving open space. Council directed staff to begin the legal process to hold a general obligation bond referendum on October 8, 2019.

The referendum, which will comprise two separate questions, will ask voters whether they approve of the Town’s use of general obligation bond financing to pay for qualifying transportation projects and qualifying parks projects.

While the referendum sets maximum limits for borrowing in each of the two categories, the Town is not required to borrow the full authorized amounts. If the debt financing is approved by voters, projects would be initiated, designed, constructed and initially financed over as many as 10 years.

  • The Cary Town Council voted unanimously to offer citizens the opportunity to vote on two general obligation bond initiatives for Parks ($112 million) and Transportation ($113 million). Registered voters will have the opportunity to voice their opinions about each bond initiative individually during the Oct. 8 general election.
  • Projects in both the Parks and Transportation Bonds are located throughout Cary and will begin over the next 10 years. 
  • The Transportation Bond consists of $113 million for traffic improvement, resurfacing, intersection improvements, streetscape improvements, new traffic signal system software, sidewalks, and road widening.
  • The Parks Bond consists of $112 million for new parks including Phase 2 of the Downtown Park; two new parks in western Cary; a nine-acre park on Tryon Road; playground upgrades; historic properties preservation; open space preservation; and improvements to existing parks.
  • There is no contingency finance plan for these projects. If voters do not approve the authority to finance them, they will likely not move forward in the next five to ten years. 

Recent Action

May 23, 2019: Town Council voted unanimously to adopt the 2019 Bond Referendum Preliminary Findings Resolution. This action documents Council’s conclusions about using debt and authorizes staff to seek approval of the proposed referendum with the NC Local Government Commission.

June 27: Town Council introduced the bond orders and set a public hearing for July 18, 2019.

July 18: A public hearing was held at the regular Town Council meeting where the bond orders were considered for adoption and approved. They will be publicized in legal notices during July and August. Council also considered and passed a resolution calling for the bond referendum. 

Schedule

Sept. 13: Last day to register to vote: Wake County Board of Elections; Chatham County Board of Elections

Sept. 18: Early voting begins.

Oct. 8: Election Day