Local Politics

Wake budget plan would hold line on taxes, give more to schools

Posted May 21, 2012

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— Wake County Manager David Cooke rolled out his proposed $941.5 million budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year on Monday, keeping property taxes at their current level but providing the local school district with less than half of its requested funding increase.

Because of the county's recent merger with Durham County to provide mental health services, the size of Cooke's proposal is $10.6 million less than the 20122-12 budget. Yet, it reflects $22 million in new revenue.

County officials expect the property tax base to grow by $10 million in the coming year, and they are projecting an extra $9 million in sales tax revenue. The rest of the new money would come from state funding for housing people convicted of misdemeanors at the Wake County Detention Center and from additional Emergency Medical Services fees.

The property tax rate under the proposal would remain at 53.4 cents per $100 of valuation.

The Wake County Public School System had requested an additional $8.8 million in county funding for the 2012-13 school year after seeing the county hold the line on its support at $314 million in recent years. Cooke's spending plan would provide the district with an extra $3.9 million.

Paul Coble, chairman of the Wake County Board of Commissioners, said the county can't afford to pick up the slack in school funding after the state slashed spending on public education last year.

"It's difficult for the county to make up cuts that come from the state," Coble said. "We can't be expected to make up those differences because, frankly, what would happen is the state would start cutting every year and then ask the counties to make up those differences.

Wake commissioners unwilling to make up for state cuts to schools Wake commissioners unwilling to make up for state cuts to schools

"That's simply a game we're not going to play," he said.

School Superintendent Tony Tata said school leaders will look to state lawmakers to make up the difference if the county's proposed budget goes forward as is.

"They are good people working hard to make education right," Tata said of the county Board of Commissioners. "I have trust, faith and confidence we are going to get to where we need to be."

If the district can't make up the difference with county or state funds, Tata said, there are other contingency plans in place that won't require layoffs.

"We know it is a tough economic time," Tata said. "We cut 56 positions out of Central Services last year. We cut a secretary out of every school and we reduced hours of certain employees."

Wake school board Vice Chair Keith Sutton said "any scenario that involved more cuts is going to hurt" and he hopes that economic improvements will free up some funding for the district.

"The economy is slowly ticking upward," he said. "The question is how fast." 

Wake Technical Community College would get an extra $200,000 from the budget, for a total allocation of $16.2 million.

Cooke called for spending an additional $5.9 million on public safety because of the county's growing criminal justice facilities.

The Board of Commissioners must approve the new county budget by June 30.


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  • Sunc May 22, 2012

    The Teachers Union will be coming out tomorrow with ads about the "cut" anonemoose - You do realize that there is NO teachers union in NC, NCAE is a voluntary group that a teacher can join. It has no real major power, teachers cannot strike in this state, it is basically a political lobbying organization. Trust me, if there was a REAL teacher's union in this state, you would know.

  • yankee1 May 21, 2012

    Sorry tired2, we understand completely! Extortion is Extortion! The liberal Democrats who claim to be all inclusive are the ones who break people into classes and groups and then try to gain power by pitting one against the other! When teaching contraception and gay life style takes precedence over reading and arithmatic, it's time to stop it! That's where we are and it's time to stop it! We've got it right, you don't!!!

  • KnoxOverstreet III May 21, 2012

    "Wouldn't you want to pay for quality education? Do you think liberal indoctrination is quality education? Do you think teaching kids who can't string a sentence together or add a column of numbers but can recite a list of birth control measures and the supposed rights of gays is quality education or indoctrination? Do you think the lunch saga and today's story out of Salisbury is education? How about the expense of new signs to give non existent electric vehicles special parking locations? If you do than you are part of the problem that allows this nonsense to continue!

    This post is so darn messed up I don't know where to start. I think you're the one that can't string a post together.

  • djhartm May 21, 2012

    Thank you Mr. Cook for creating a budget that does not call for raising taxes and focuses on delivering what is important; job well done!

  • tired2 May 21, 2012

    ThePunisher....I suspect Repub's are far from reproach...when have the Repub's really improved education..."No Child" is a joke..btw...so is your WH candidate

  • STRAWBERRY LETTER 23 May 21, 2012


    You are correct. I did attend public school, and I'm sure many folks said the same thing about me! LOL!


  • anonemoose May 21, 2012

    I have no kids, so the last thing I want to do, is pay for a bunch of rug rats that I had nothing to do with! LOL!

    Click to view my profile Strawberry Letter 23
    May 21, 2012 5:15 p.m.
    [abuse] Report abuse

    Sorry nice lady, you already do. See what the budget will be for social services and that will give you a place to start on all these rug rats that aren't yours that you are paying for. Education in a drop in the bucket compared to what we pay for kids who aren't ours, but that we encourage.

  • anonemoose May 21, 2012

    I guess a few didn't see my tongue in cheek point. The Teachers Union will be coming out tomorrow with ads about the "cut", even though there will be a net increase. Then the liberal media will tell us how badly the "cuts" will affect the children.

    I know that there will not be a cut, but the libs will portray it that way.

  • ThePunisher May 21, 2012

    "Wouldn't you want to pay for quality education? Do you think liberal indoctrination is quality education? "

    Name a year since 1800 when this hasn't been an excuse for democrats to raise taxes "for the children"?

    How come every Democrat that runs on improving education that wins, never improves it, then the next democrat that runs wants more taxes "for the children" of course.

    The War and Education is as much a complete failure as the Ware on Poverty.

  • ThePunisher May 21, 2012

    "hold line on taxes" --- sweet music to the ears.

    Somewhere some govt leech who doesn't pay taxes at all will and does think this is some sort of tax cut for the "rich"