Local Politics

Needs increase just as county agencies face spending cuts

Posted January 12, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

— New numbers indicate the number of people applying for government assistance in Wake County increased dramatically toward the end of 2008 compared with a year earlier.

For example, according to the Wake County Department of Health and Human Services, 2,244 people applied for food stamps in December – a 42 percent increase over the same time in 2007.

Budget woes could dry up assistance from counties Budget woes could dry up assistance from counties

The number of applicants who applied for the county's emergency electricity program also spiked nearly 20 percent.

"The number of people who are seeking employment assistance has also increased significantly," said Bill Stanford, Wake County Human Services Board chairman.

The new data come at a time when county commissioners have already asked each county department to cut its budget by 4 percent to help make up for a $17 million budget shortfall.

They are also asking departments to devise spending plans that cut expenses by 10 percent for the 2010 budget year that begins July 1.

Commissioners say cuts are necessary to avoid raising taxes.

"We are going to have to make some tough choices that hopefully won't affect our senior citizens and those with disabilities," Wake County Commissioner Lindy Brown said.

Nothing is final, however, and it could be the end of the month before leaders begin deciding where to cut expenses.

Wake County Health and Human Services is one of three county agencies that could be affected the most. It provides services such as food assistance, housing assistance, energy assistance and job training to people with low incomes.

Other areas in the county budget that could also be heavily affected are the sheriff's office, which could be asked to cut training, and the school system, which was asked last month to reduce its spending plan by $5.7 million.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • really02 Jan 13, 2009

    THE Illigals will make it because are Liberal system supports them. I wish that I had a goverment check comming to me.

  • really02 Jan 13, 2009


  • Ladybug Jan 13, 2009

    I know there has been some discussion about cutting Meals on Wheels. There are alot of elderly people that wouldn't get fed if it weren't for Meal on Wheels. Please don't cut them out and let them die.!

  • whatelseisnew Jan 13, 2009

    Should not be any such thing as HHS in the first place.

  • Seeminglyopposed Jan 13, 2009

    I am sorry but I am disgusted to see so many hispanics come into stores with almost a thousand dollars worth of food stamps on their EBT cards, WIC and then pull out wads of money to purchase clothes and other items continuosly without a care. This is a constant, and when are our government officials going to start doing something about this situation. Legal Americans are losing our jobs daily and at a high rate and this is what we are dealing with and why?

  • coolwill Jan 13, 2009

    If the law states they must get an education (illegal immigrants) make them pay for it upfront or payment plans. All social programs should go to legal American citizens. If we allow some one who is legal to another country to collect government benefits why not allow people from other state to come and collect government benefits (fair is fair) at will?

  • icdumbpeople Jan 13, 2009

    Start drug testing before approving any program.
    Prove they are american.

    There is your money saved. Kind of a no brainer.....

  • bngexpress Jan 13, 2009

    maybe we should stop handing out assistance to any criminal immigrant that can hold out his or her hand!make them prove their immigration status, if they are here illegally no help, save the funds for the CITIZENS that have paid their taxes that have followed the rules and laws of this country.

  • whatusay Jan 12, 2009

    All the comments on this article are from government. The government is growing at a faster rate than tax payers can pay, and that is why we are about to go into a depression. Government must shrink for this country to survive. But, Obama wants to hire thousand more to work for the US government so tax payers can continue to sink deeper and deeper. The only thing that will allow this country to survive is for government to reduce it's size and it's demand on tax payers.

  • clickclackity2 Jan 12, 2009

    Good Post..With unemployment so high and increasing, more and more people are eventually gonna have to swallow their pride, along with any negative thing they've said about the programs and apply for them themselves.