Public Speaks Out

I decided to share with you lovely folks my exact comments at Public Speaks Out. And here is the video if you want to watch it live at the September 23 meeting of Cary Town Council. Around 29 minutes I’m called forward to speak. FYI, we only have three minutes in the Public Speaks Out portion of the meeting. I was shaking in my boots but luckily you can hardly tell. This moment felt like a big deal in the work I’ve been doing since January to research and educate myself on how I can make positive change in my community. 

Credit, Cary Citizen News Website

“My name is Amanda Murphy. Thank you to the mayor and council for your time today. I’m here to talk on what has been termed a tsunami of an issue in Wake County, housing affordability.

I would like to start with a brief personal story. Back in 2014, I was a newly single mom with two young daughters and had been out of the workforce for more than five years as a stay at home mom. I went back into a marketing role at an engineering firm and had a decent salary with benefits. I rented a two-bedroom apartment in Cary so that the girls had a bedroom of their own. I could BARELY make ends meet. Each paycheck just covered rent, utilities, food, gas, phone, and all the other necessities that pop up. Childcare became insurmountable, or if something broke on the car, we were in trouble. I was extremely fortunate and am grateful in that my parents were able to move to Cary from eastern NC to be near us to help with childcare. I hate to ask what if, like so many others in our community, I did not have that support. 

My rent was $900 when I moved into that small two-bedroom apartment. It went up to $1,100/month by the time I purchased my first home in Cary. Fast forward to today, you would be lucky to get a two-bedroom in Cary for those prices.

Those struggling with housing affordability include Town of Cary staff, firefighters, nurses, waiters/waitresses at your favorite sushi joint, our police, and single moms/dads. I understand this issue is challenging for municipalities because the North Carolina General Assembly does not give local government that many rights. Local municipalities surrounding Cary have been making efforts towards a solution, including a penny tax in Apex that is a dedicated fund for affordable housing in their community.

As a tax-paying citizen of this great town, I want Cary to be pushing on this issue, and work to find the right mix of solutions for this lack of housing tsunami. Diversity creates stronger communities. We have GOT to see that it is our responsibility as a community to take care of those who serve our community. 

Thank you for your time, and I ask that council and staff continues to seek public input into housing affordability efforts going forward, and consider setting tangible, measurable milestones so that the town is working towards a concrete goal.”

I’m learning though, that my words can easily be misconstrued as in the blog post from our mayor following the Public Speaks out session where he stated, “Public Speaks Out had one speaker, a candidate for Cary Town council, who was pitching a WakeOne mantra that all municipalities should give one penny of their tax rate to affordable housing. IMHO, throwing money at a complex problem without clearly defining the problem and the solutions is very bad policy. I encourage everyone to learn what Cary is already doing for affordable housing instead of assuming the worse.”

My response, as you can see on the post was the following:

“Dear Mayor,
Your recollection of my comment at Public Speaks Out is incorrect. What I stated was that, “Local municipalities surrounding Cary have been making efforts towards a solution, including a penny tax in Apex that is a dedicated fund for affordable housing in their community.” In your statement that I was pitching a ONE Wake mantra, you are miscommunicating to the public. I stated a fact, that municipalities surrounding Cary are taking action for housing affordability.
I would ask that Cary Town Council do the same. I have researched at length what Cary is already doing for housing affordability, believe our town is capable of much more, and am excited to see the progress you plan to make moving forward with the new housing study coming out this fall.”

If you care about this issue, if your kids are going to graduate in the spring and you are concerned about housing for them, if your parents are retiring soon and you are concerned about housing for them, reach out to me, let’s get a coffee and talk solutions!

Published by Amanda Murphy

I have been in the Triangle my entire career. I started out working alongside people who are now leaders of municipalities, heads of industry, and decision makers in their fields. My network is strong. After work I’m typically raising two of the most creative, amazing kids I know. I also am a bit of a health enthusiast; biking and swimming are my favorites. I love reading stories, and coffee, lots of coffee.

2 thoughts on “Public Speaks Out

  1. I am glad to see that there is a person speaking on affordable housing each time that the council holds a meeting. Now would be the time to find teachers, first responders, etc who would be willing to speak about her or her housing situation or a downtown resident being forced to move out of Cary due to rent increased….people wanting to stay in Cary, but cannot or someone who fits the above categories and already lives elsewhere, but cannot afford Cary. The council needs to start seeing the faces of people who depend on their decisions . I am unfortunately not surprised by the mayor’s response to you.

    Liked by 1 person

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