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Taxpayer Money Funding Ads To Promote Cary's Smart Growth

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CARY, N.C. — Even with a population of more than 100,000, Cary still considers itself a town.

The town

is making history by using taxpayer money to further promote aggressive

growth management


It is spending $200,000 of taxpayer money on Triangle television and radio stations to promote the town's success with growth management. Newspaper ads tell how smart growth is working.

At-large council member Harold Weinbrecht says the campaign sends a strong message.

"This is a way to have a broad brush to cover the entire population and reach everyone -- to let them know how their tax money is being spent to solve the problems they have complained about," Weihbrecht said.

The ads were intended to run during last fall's election campaign for city council, but the courts ruled that the campaign appeared to be an illegal use of taxpayer money to influence elections.

Public relations consultant Nelson Dollar won the court battle, and criticizes Cary for still trying to run a propaganda campaign.

"$200,000 to $300,000 of taxpayer's money being wasted on propaganda is highly inappropriate," Dollar said.

Growth management is a top policy issue for the Cary Town Council. Mayor Glen Lang believes there is nothing wrong with telling voters how the town has cut double-digit growth to a healthy 4 percent.

"What you do is if you govern in the dark and don't tell people what's going on, you'll be criticized. If you go in and spend money and tell them what's going on, you'll be criticized. You know what? As politicians, we will be criticized," Lang said.

The smart growth campaign will run for three months.