Karl Knapp, Town of Cary Budget Director

NCLGBA: The People Who Balance NC Communities

We invite you to hear from North Carolina’s local government budget professionals who believe in the value of public service and consider it an honor to bring value to their communities in their respective roles. Twice a month we will be highlighting NCLGBA members who are an important part to the balance in their communities.

Today we will hear from the Town of Cary’s Karl Knapp.

The Town of Cary is a thriving community in the heart of the Triangle area of North Carolina, between Raleigh and the Research Triangle Park. Cary is home to some of the largest national and international employers, including the No. 1 multinational workplace in the world — SAS Institute. Known for having tree-lined streets, well planned subdivisions, beautiful office parks, world class recreation amenities, and abundant shopping, Cary repeatedly is ranked on various lists as one the best places in the nation and work. Cary has one of the highest median incomes in the State and more than two-thirds of adults hold a college degree.


PWB Knapp Portrait

What was the biggest challenge facing your community this fiscal year and how did you address as part of the budget development process?
Cary’s revenue growth is slowing and the plans we have made for expansion and construction of facilities now exceed our capacity to pay for them. This year we produced our first financially constrained CIP, with a five-year plan that included only those projects that could be funded by projected revenues. The constrained plan made clear to our Council that some important projects, such as new fire stations to accommodate growth, could not be funded without additional resources for capital projects. We are now working to engage the Council in developing a plan for devoting additional resources to capital.

What drew you to a career in public service?
I had the ideals of the New Deal and the New Frontier instilled in me at an early age and have always seen government as a positive force in society. From an early age, I wanted to make the world a better place through public service.

PWB Cary Town Hall
Cary Town Hall

What career advice do you wish someone would have shared with you when you started your first local government budgeting job?
There is no item of spending so trivial that it can’t be the subject of a major debate, and no fiscal concern so important that it can’t be ignored by elected officials.

What excites you most about FY 2016 in your community and your department?
We’re getting a brew pub in downtown. As far as our department is concerned, the selection of a new Town Manager some time during FY 16 will be the major event of our year.

Chatham Street Chowdown Food Truck Rally

If you didn’t work in budgeting, what would you do?
I’ve already worked much of my career in areas of government other than budgeting, so I can imagine myself doing any number of other things in government or the non-profit sector. I could also start a food truck.

Tell us something about yourself that others may not know.
I teach the middle school Sunday School class at my church.


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