CARY - Local voters on Election Day will choose the towns course for the next few years.
Residents of Cary are being asked to approve $80 million of bonds that will fund construction of town amenities and infrastructure in the near future.
The town argues that long-term debt is the most economical way to pay off the improvements, which local leaders say will help maintain Carys current quality of life.
If all three bonds are approved, the town would raise property taxes by a total of 4 cents per $100 of a homes value, about 12 percent of current tax bills.What will I see in the voting booth?
The Cary bonds will appear on the back of voting ballots for town residents. The proposed bonds will appear as three separate questions, which residents can vote on individually.
Each referendum will stand on its own if one fails, the others may still go forward if they individually win yes votes from at least half the Election Day voters.Where will the money go?
The town of Cary plans to take out debt to pay for dozens of projects across town: $58 million for transportation projects, $16 million for new parks and $6.5 million for a fire station replacement.What transportation projects are planned?
The biggest project is an $18 million realignment of 0.4 miles of Carpenter Fire Station Road. The four-lane highway would connect Morrisville Carpenter Road and Carpenter Fire Station Road. The two roads already intersect, but the project would create a better-flowing east-west thoroughfare.
The second most-expensive project is a $14 million widening of 0.8 miles of Green Level West Road, from the Western Wake Freeway interchange to N.C. 55. Traffic on the stretch is expected to triple by 2035.
An $8 million plan to improve the aesthetics of a stretch of downtown Cary would take up about 14 percent of the transportation bonds. The streetscape project would remake part of South Academy Street with brick sidewalks, plaza-style design and new lighting and furniture, to be built by the fall of 2015.
About $7 million would widen the Walnut Street bridge over U.S. 1, to include a sidewalk and another northbound travel lane.
Cary would bolster its street maintenance program with $5 million, which would replace budget cuts.
The town would use $3 million to for improvements at five intersections on Cary Parkway and on N.W. Maynard Road. The project includes Cary Parkways crossings with U.S. 1, Kildaire Farm Road and Evans Road; and Maynard Roads intersections with Chapel Hill Road and High House Road.
A further $2.9 million would pay for an upgrade to the towns traffic-signal management system.
Finally, the town would put $1 million toward bike lanes and other bicycle-related projects, and about $800,000 would fund new sidewalks.Where will the town build new parks?
The proposed $15.9 million of parks projects are spread across southern, central and western Cary.
Southern Cary would get Bartley Park, a $4.8 million, 50-acre facility built around a historic home near the intersection of Penny Road and Holly Springs Road.
The town would put $2 million toward a downtown park. The Town Center Park, to sit on Academy Street near the Cary Arts Center, would be a visual and cultural focal point and include a home for a farmers market.
About $1 million would pay for shelters, a softball field and disc golf at Mills Park in western Cary, and $1.4 million would fund a 4.9 mile greenway from N.C. 55 to the American Tobacco Trail, running just north of Mills Park. Another $3 million would connect Bond Park to the American Tobacco Trail.
Finally, $2 million would go toward artificial turf fields at Mills Park and at southern Carys Middle Creek Park.Why does Cary need a new fire station?
The new fire station, to be built at 601 E. Chatham Street, would replace Fire Station 2. Town staff say the current station, which is 38 years old, is outdated and has fallen into disrepair.
The facility is serving twice the number of staff and vehicles for which it was designed, according to the town.
Cary would build the new station about a mile from the current Station 2; construction would finish in the fall of 2014, the town projects.How would taxes change?
Individually, the transportation bond carries a 2.9-cent increase, the parks package a 0.8-cent increase and the fire station a 0.3-cent increase.
Cary would rise from the lowest tax rate in the county to the second lowest, assuming Morrisville doesnt raise its rates before 2015. The new rate, 37 cents per $100 valuation, would clock in just below Raleighs current rate.
The tax increase is expected to come in two 2-cent bumps, one in 2013 and the other in 2015. In all, a typical homeowner would pay about $115 extra for a home worth $280,000, the median sale price here, according to Trulia.com.What happens if the bonds dont pass?
Without the tax increase and associated debt, the town says it wont have the spare cash to pursue the proposed projects.