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Thread: Cary Budget FY 2010

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    Default Cary Budget FY 2010

    The Town Manager's recommended budget is now available:

    Quote Originally Posted by Town of Cary
    CARY’S RECOMMENDED BUDGET RESPONDS TO RECESSION BY MAINTAINING CORE SERVICES WITH NO INCREASE IN SOLID WASTE FEES OR PROPERTY TAXES; UTILITY RATES TO RISE
    More than two dozen vacant positions to remain open as Town continues to look for ways to economize without significantly impacting community’s look and feel

    CARY, NC – It will take about $217 million next year to keep Cary one of the greatest places in America to live, work, and raise a family, according to the Fiscal Year 2010 recommended budget presented by Town Manager Ben Shivar. The total budget is 25 percent lower than its FY 2009 predecessor, which was adopted last June to fund the current year’s initiatives. Proposed cuts and delays will keep Cary’s tax rate one of the lowest in the Triangle at 33 cents per $100 of valuation and hold garbage, recycling, and yard waste fees to a total of $14 per month for residents.

    “My recommended budget takes an extremely conservative approach to new spending while ensuring that Cary citizens can continue to enjoy the high quality programs and services our organization provides,” said Town Manager Ben Shivar. “Despite the impacts of the severe economic downturn, I believe we’ve found effective ways to adjust operations and delay projects in a manner that minimizes impacts to the community we serve.”

    The Town of Cary’s annual budget is divided into two primary parts: a capital budget, which funds bricks and mortar projects like roads, buildings, and utility lines; and an operating budget, which funds the equipment, supplies, vehicles, and people needed to run programs and facilities.

    Shivar’s proposed FY 10 capital portion of the budget totals $50.2 million, a 60 percent decrease from the current year’s adopted capital budget. Some of the projects he is recommending move forward include automated meter reading (Aquastar), open space acquisition, an elevated water storage tank, and the annual town-wide street improvement program.

    Shivar’s recommended FY 10 operating portion of the budget totals $166.7 million. The modest 2.2 percent increase from the current year’s adopted operating budget is due in large measure to vehicle replacements, about half of which were delayed this year to help trim expenses.

    While one of the typical drivers of operating cost increases is new positions, this is not the case in Shivar’s proposed budget, which includes only one new staff position -- a water resources engineer to help with regulations to ensure that Cary’s long term water and wastewater needs are met in a timely manner. Over the last several years, Cary has had to add an average of 27 new positions each year just to keep pace with the growing community’s needs. And in addition to not adding positions, Shivar is holding more than two dozen vacant positions open across a wide variety of departments frozen now and for the coming year.

    “Keeping a still-growing community in the same place next year that it was in in previous years with as many as two to four percent fewer staff and large cuts in contracted services puts a particularly heavy burden on the remaining staff, and I appreciate the tremendous effort they’re putting forth to keep our community strong,” said Shivar.

    Not in his proposed budget but identified as a critical need is the creation of a new police beat in the western Cary. Shivar noted that he is looking to a federal grant to help fund the additional eight police officers.

    “These additional police resources are important, and if we don’t receive the federal support we’ve applied for, I plan to ask the Council to consider other funding options this fall,” Shivar added.

    Not counting the possibility of the new police officers, the one new recommended engineer position brings the Town’s total to 1,153.875 full-time equivalents, or about 8.5 staff members for each 1,000 Cary residents -- one of the lowest staff-to-citizen ratios in the state for a large municipality.

    Even with the freeze, cuts, delays, increased efficiencies and more belt-tightening, Cary water and sewer customers are facing a 7.9 percent rate increase—about $5.55 more a month for a residential Cary customer using 7,000 gallons of water. In addition to the forecasted rate impacts of the Western Wake Regional Wastewater Management Facilities, decreased revenues from a slower rate of new development, fewer than expected new customers, and lower demand are contributing to the need for higher rates.

    “Unfortunately and unlike much of what we do at Town Hall, most of the costs to run a water and sewer utility are large, long-term fixed costs that can’t be flexed from one year to the next,” said Shivar.

    The Cary Council’s next budget work session is slated for May 26, 2009. Discussions are expected to include options for delaying or phasing the downtown Streetscape project, the planned renovation of Old Cary Elementary, and a request to purchase the Triangle Aquatics Center. Another work session is on the calendar for June 9 if needed. Work sessions are open to the public, begin at 5:30 p.m., and are held at Cary Town Hall.

    In addition to attending work sessions, interested citizens are invited to comment on the proposed budget during two upcoming regular Council meetings: Thursday, May 28 and Wednesday, June 10. Meetings begin at 6:30 p.m. and are held in the Council Chambers at Cary Town Hall, 316 North Academy St.

    Any changes to Shivar’s recommended budget will be listed separately and voted on in conjunction with approval of the entire budget at the regular Council meeting on June 25. North Carolina law requires local governments to adopt a balanced budget by June 30 since the new fiscal year starts July 1.

    The complete Town of Cary proposed budget is available at http://www.townofcary.org/depts/budg...y10summary.htm . Printed copies of the budget are also available for review at the Town Clerk’s Office in Town Hall, at the Cary public library on South Academy Street, and at the West Regional Library, 4000 Louis Stephens Drive.

    The Town of Cary’s annual budget is a work and financial plan designed to implement the Town Council’s vision for the community as articulated in the organization’s mission statement - http://www.townofcary.org/depts/missionandvalues.htm - and goals and initiatives -http://www.townofcary.org/depts/budget/currentyearadopted/aob/006-townofcarygoalsandinitiatives.pdf .


    ###


    PRIMARY CONTACTS: Ben Shivar, Town Manager, (919) 469-4002
    Susan Moran, Public Information Officer, (919) 460-4951
    Overall, this seems like a sensible budget approach for the times and a reasonable prioritization.

    But:

    Quote Originally Posted by Town of Cary
    Not in his proposed budget but identified as a critical need is the creation of a new police beat in the western Cary


    Not fully funding public safety seems to be the wrong priority.

    And on that public safety topic, that's not the only thing missing in the proposed budget:

    - Not one thin dime for elementary School Resource Officers; and
    - Not one thin dime for Cary EMS


    An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Elementary SROs are an ounce of prevention for juvenile crime and gang problems.

    Free flu vaccines for Cary citizens are an ounce of prevention that Cary EMS could provide with the non-profit grant requested from the Town.

    Grants to non-profit groups increase overall in the recommended budget, including at least 7 non-profit groups who are to receive more $ than last year. But not one thin dime for Cary EMS.

    Let's hope this gets fixed in the final adopted budget.
    - Brent Miller

    "The job of a citizen is to keep his mouth open" -- Gunter Grass

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    Default Re: Cary Budget FY 2010

    Quote Originally Posted by Brent View Post
    Overall, this seems like a sensible budget approach for the times and a reasonable prioritization.

    But:

    Quote Originally Posted by Town of Cary
    Not in his proposed budget but identified as a critical need is the creation of a new police beat in the western Cary


    Not fully funding public safety seems to be the wrong priority.

    And on that public safety topic, that's not the only thing missing in the proposed budget:

    - Not one thin dime for elementary School Resource Officers; and
    - Not one thin dime for Cary EMS


    An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Elementary SROs are an ounce of prevention for juvenile crime and gang problems.

    Free flu vaccines for Cary citizens are an ounce of prevention that Cary EMS could provide with the non-profit grant requested from the Town.

    Grants to non-profit groups increase overall in the recommended budget, including at least 7 non-profit groups who are to receive more $ than last year. But not one thin dime for Cary EMS.

    Let's hope this gets fixed in the final adopted budget.

    Brent,
    The reason the new police beat is not funded in this budget is that we are in the process of applying for a federal grant monies that would fund this. Should Cary not receive this grant money it is my opinion that council would support a mid-year appropriation to do so (I know I do). We should know are we or aren't we receiving grant funds sometime this fall.

    In regards to EMS funding I cannot support the non-profit requests as presented without EMS funding included. During these difficult economic times however I believe the only non-profits we should be funding are those who provide an essential service to our community.
    Don

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    Default Re: Cary Budget FY 2010

    What about the SRO positions? Today while I was driving to work, I saw gang graffiti on Evans right next to Silverton. This has to stop.
    Last edited by Icorpse; 05-15-2009 at 08:17 PM. Reason: typo
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    Default Re: Cary Budget FY 2010

    Quote Originally Posted by Icorpse View Post
    What about the SRO positions? Today while I was driving to work, I saw gang graffiti on Evans right next to Silverton. This has to stop.
    Elementary SROs will not be included in this year's budget. We are discussing the possibility of using our CAP team in some capacity at elementary schools. It may not be what you want to hear but I'm being honest with you.

    Where on Evans is the graffiti and is it still there?
    Don

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    Default Re: Cary Budget FY 2010

    Quote Originally Posted by Don View Post
    The reason the new police beat is not funded in this budget is that we are in the process of applying for a federal grant monies that would fund this. Should Cary not receive this grant money it is my opinion that council would support a mid-year appropriation to do so (I know I do). We should know are we or aren't we receiving grant funds sometime this fall.
    Right, that was in the PSA, I just omitted it in my excerpt, and that makes sense.

    Quote Originally Posted by Don View Post
    In regards to EMS funding I cannot support the non-profit requests as presented without EMS funding included. During these difficult economic times however I believe the only non-profits we should be funding are those who provide an essential service to our community.
    Thank you, and I agree. I was quite surprised to see the Town Manager's recommended budget include INCREASED non-profit funding but still not a penny for EMS.

    Of course, "essential" becomes somewhat subjective, I suppose, although I doubt that many people would argue that Cary EMS doesn't provide an essential service.
    - Brent Miller

    "The job of a citizen is to keep his mouth open" -- Gunter Grass

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    Default Re: Cary Budget FY 2010

    Quote Originally Posted by Don View Post
    The reason the new police beat is not funded in this budget is that we are in the process of applying for a federal grant monies that would fund this. Should Cary not receive this grant money it is my opinion that council would support a mid-year appropriation to do so (I know I do). We should know are we or aren't we receiving grant funds sometime this fall.
    Yeah, which made me wonder:


    - If we can advance money to widen a highway, why can't we advance money to hire police officers that we know we need (why are we sitting around waiting until fall)?

    - Why isn't the Town pursuing federal grants for school resource officers?
    - Brent Miller

    "The job of a citizen is to keep his mouth open" -- Gunter Grass

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    Default Re: Cary Budget FY 2010

    I'll take a step backwards....why should we be spending money on SRO's at all?
    What is the benefit they bring? I can see how a uniformed presence in a high crime inner city school might make a lot of sense....but does it make sense out here in affluent suburbia? Make the case for me.

    (I'd be more inclined to restore a school nurse to every school myself.....)
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    Default Re: Cary Budget FY 2010

    Quote Originally Posted by Don View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Icorpse View Post
    What about the SRO positions? Today while I was driving to work, I saw gang graffiti on Evans right next to Silverton. This has to stop.
    Elementary SROs will not be included in this year's budget. We are discussing the possibility of using our CAP team in some capacity at elementary schools. It may not be what you want to hear but I'm being honest with you.
    I appreciate the honesty, I appreciate the innovative thinking and I certainly appreciate the CAP team. However, CAP team members can't substitute for sworn officers in all circumstances. I'll be interested to see what the Town comes up with, but my initial reaction is that Elementary SROs probably aren't one of the circumstances in which CAP team members can substitute for sworn officers (assist and augment? You bet! Substitute for? I'm dubious)

    Quote Originally Posted by Don View Post
    Where on Evans is the graffiti and is it still there?
    Assuming that Icorpse is not referring to the "Yard sale" signs that deface our landscape (gasp! The horror! In Cary?!? Oh, my quality of life!); and assuming that Icorpse is not referring to the various colored spray-painted stripes that deface our sidewalks to mark underground utilities; but assuming rather that Icorpse is referring to the spray-painted graffiti that defaces a street sign and utility box on Evans Rd, not to mention the drainage culvert along N. Cary Parkway, then yeah, it's still there:















    And why stop at graffiti? Punctuate your statement by ripping out another street sign!









    Town Staff can scrub off the graffiti and replace the signs. But it will come back, and in reality, it's always "Still there" -- and not just "here" but also on Wrenn Drive, Walnut St., US 1/64, Maynard, and yes, in the Preston and Lochmere areas.

    It will be there as long as Cary keeps its head in the sand. I'm aware of Cary's small anti-gang efforts (aimed primarily at detection, identification, remediation -- i.e., reactive, not proactive/preventive).

    It will be there as long as close-minded, stubborn, head-in-the-sand attitudes prevail at Town Hall on this particular issue. If you don't believe me, bring up the topic of Elementary SROs at Town Hall. I'll be happy to debunk (again) the lame reasons you hear for not reinstating the Elementary SRO program that Cary had just a few years ago.

    It will be there until leadership emerges and open-minded, flexible, realistic thinking prevails at Town Hall on this particular issue.
    - Brent Miller

    "The job of a citizen is to keep his mouth open" -- Gunter Grass

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    Default Re: Cary Budget FY 2010

    Quote Originally Posted by chaboard View Post
    I'll take a step backwards....why should we be spending money on SRO's at all?
    What is the benefit they bring? I can see how a uniformed presence in a high crime inner city school might make a lot of sense....but does it make sense out here in affluent suburbia? Make the case for me.

    (I'd be more inclined to restore a school nurse to every school myself.....)
    Sorry, I've made the case here and elsewhere too many times. Numerous studies show the efficacy of SRO programs. Numerous studies show the need for early intervention and the benefits of such early intervention.

    [edited to add: It's not that the case can't be made or that I can't make it...but after several years of doing so, I'm weary of it. Apologies, maybe I'll be up to it later]

    You might want to start with the Wake County Gang Violence Prevention Task Force. [edited to add: and Google]

    And if you haven't noticed, we have plenty of juvenile crime, crime in schols and gang problems "out here in affluent suburbia".
    Last edited by Brent; 05-16-2009 at 12:45 PM. Reason: add clarification
    - Brent Miller

    "The job of a citizen is to keep his mouth open" -- Gunter Grass

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    Default Re: Cary Budget FY 2010

    Quote Originally Posted by Brent View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by chaboard View Post
    I'll take a step backwards....why should we be spending money on SRO's at all?
    What is the benefit they bring? I can see how a uniformed presence in a high crime inner city school might make a lot of sense....but does it make sense out here in affluent suburbia? Make the case for me.

    (I'd be more inclined to restore a school nurse to every school myself.....)
    Sorry, I've made the case here and elsewhere too many times. Numerous studies show the efficacy of SRO programs. Numerous studies show the need for early intervention and the benefits of such early intervention.

    [edited to add: It's not that the case can't be made or that I can't make it...but after several years of doing so, I'm weary of it. Apologies, maybe I'll be up to it later]
    I can understand that. Then point me to either the thread where you made the case or somewhere I can examine these studies?


    And if you haven't noticed, we have plenty of juvenile crime, crime in schols and gang problems "out here in affluent suburbia".
    I wouldn't dispute that. I just don't see how putting a guy in a uniform in the halls really has much effect.

    Another couple of questions:
    - If we grant for the sake of argument that they ARE a good idea....why should the Town rather than the school system pay for it? (And would your answer be the same for something like school nurses?)

    - Are you advocating a separate officer for every school? How many schools do we have in Cary?


    BTW, I will second your basic feeling that the underfunding of EMS is outrageous. That should be one of the HIGHEST priorities for Town spending in good times or bad.
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