Local News

Report: Wake Co. Needs Extra $19B To Manage Growth

Posted May 31, 2006

— An additional $19 billion is needed for Wake County to keep up with the booming growth expected over the next 25 years, according to a Blue Ribbon Committee report draft released on Tuesday.

The committee, made up of business and community leaders, was formed to study the county's infrastructure needs in anticipation for a 1.4 million-population estimate by 2030.

With crowded roads, schools and prisons, the study suggests strategies to pay for new capital projects.

"If you don't have a plan and are not working toward that plan, we aren't going to be anywhere," said Wake County Commissioner Joe Bryan.

Some proposals to raise money include reassessing property taxes every four years instead of the current eight years and implementing a new 1 percent sales tax. There are also some proposals in the report to raise property taxes as much as 10 cents, which would raise an additional $70 million.

"It's an outrageous number," said Blue Ribbon Committee member Bob Luddy, who does not agree with the $19 billion funding gap.

He said that he thinks the answers to some of the county's problems are not always more money and more programs.

"Realistically, how many people want to fund a tax bill of $19 billion so we can bring more people into the county?" Luddy asked. "I don't think taxpayers will agree to that."

County leaders agree they cannot fund all the needs alone. They will ask members of the Blue Ribbon Committee to help sell a final plan on the state and federal level.

Committee members are expected to present their plans before the entire committee on Thursday and will then make revisions to the plan before presenting it to the Wake County Board of Commissioners in July.

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