Local Politics

Libraries spared as Wake commissioners OK budget

Posted June 15, 2009
Updated June 16, 2009

Map Marker  Find News Near Me

— Wake County commissioners on Monday narrowly approved a $953.6 million budget that keeps two libraries open but slashes funding for education and human services programs to avoid raising property taxes.

Democratic Commissioner Lindy Brown joined Republicans Joe Bryan, Paul Coble and Tony Gurley in voting for the budget for the 2009-10 fiscal year, which starts in two weeks. Democrats Betty Lou Ward, Stan Norwalk and Harold Webb voted against it.

For the second time in a week, Norwalk tried to restore some cuts to education and human services programs. Delaying various construction projects could have saved the county $8.9 million, which then could have been redirected to public schools and service agencies, he said.

"We cannot afford to seriously weaken the network of services that makes Wake a great place to live and work," Norwalk said.

County Manager David Cooke said Norwalk's proposal wasn't feasible and would have eventually required a tax increase, something most commissioners said they wouldn't tolerate during an economic downturn.

"You can call it anything you want to, but it's a future tax increase," Bryan said. "You can't take one-time money and solve long-term issues."

Gurley called the effort "ludicrous," but it did prompt a compromise to cut county funding to the African-American festival and $500,000 in one-time capital expenses. The cuts allowed the county to fund operations for the next year at the Duraleigh and Athens Drive library branches, which had been targeted for closure.

The final budget maintains the county property tax rate at 53.4 cents per $100 valuation. Twenty-two county workers will be laid off, and another 100 vacant jobs will be eliminated.

The Wake County school system will receive $313.5 million under the budget, less than the $316 million the district requested. School officials have said tight funding could lead to fewer teachers and larger classes.

17 Comments

This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • blhug Jun 16, 2009

    Which libraries were spared from closing?

  • sunneyone Jun 16, 2009

    Actually, it's not people being cheap and not wanting to pay the author. The author gets paid for that copy of the book. It's not different from you loaning a book to a friend. The thing is, the library provides a needed service. I love to read and unfortunately can't afford to go buying books to feed my mind. And I'm not alone. Several million people in Wake County checked out books last year.

  • kmb0694 Jun 16, 2009

    Slash education spending? I asked my 6th grader what he did at school all day yesterday. He said he tutored two kids in his class who are retaking the math EOG's. Hmmmm......

  • colliedave Jun 16, 2009

    People need to realize that libraries are a thing of the past. As we now have the ability, and in fact DO digitalize books and records, these are often available online for free.

    On this item we agree. In a digital age, there is less demand for the printed word, One can get most anything in electronic format.

    But the real heartbreaker isn't losing my job. The hard part is watching the children lose time and attention from qualified education professionals. What will that mean for our future? Please explain how this helps, because I honestly don't understand.

    A "qualified" education exoert most likely hasn't mastered the sunject at hand but has been through a brainwashing in teaching methods at a College of Education.

  • Rick Davout Jun 16, 2009

    Betty Lou should be the one to go. Her comment is exactly the kind of small-minded behavior that we need to get serious about removing.

  • MakoII Jun 16, 2009

    People need to realize that libraries are a thing of the past. As we now have the ability, and in fact DO digitalize books and records, these are often available online for free.

    Google Books is a prime example.

    The library typically has outdated books on Education subjects like Science (where the latest in physics is a few years old at best) and exists currently to either serve up books for kids (noble) and cheap parents looking to read the latest fiction novel and not pay the author.

    It's rediculous that my tax dollars go for procuring 30 copies of some trash novel that came out a few months ago. It's not "education" if you read Fiction crime novels and love novels all the time.

    And when I have to find REAL books on REAL subjects, I have to go to microfiche? But I can subsidize trash books?

    Give me a break.

    Digitize these books and offer them online. If you MUST keep a library open, keep it as an archive for records and perhaps computer labs for the poor.

  • Just the facts mam Jun 16, 2009

    Thank you to the common-sense Commissioners who voted to not raise taxed and to cut spending! Too bad we do not have more politicians like this running our state and federal governments.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Jun 16, 2009

    Unemployed Concerned Parent, I hear ya. But, many people 'round here don't care about "edumacation", but only gas money for their SUV. These are often the same people who don't even want public schools or government in general...except when it can tell others who they can marry, what they can do with their own bodies, what deity to worship, etc.

  • joco cruiser Jun 16, 2009

    Gurley called the effort "ludicrous," but it did prompt a compromise to cut county funding to the African-American festival and $500,000 in one-time capital expenses.

    They could cut funding to all the festivals and probably save a ton of money.

  • Unemployed Concerned Parent Jun 16, 2009

    Will someone please explain why losing more jobs (probably including my own) helps the economy? The working citizens of Wake County can keep a few extra dollars in their pocket, but many hardworking, dedicated, talented people who are committed to making the world a better place will have no job at all.

    But the real heartbreaker isn't losing my job. The hard part is watching the children lose time and attention from qualified education professionals. What will that mean for our future? Please explain how this helps, because I honestly don't understand.

More...