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Proposed Wake budget includes tax increase

Posted May 19, 2008

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— Wake County officials are considering raising the property tax rate by 2.5 cents for the coming year, four months after rolling back the rate to compensate for a property revaluation.

The proposed $983.4 million budget for 2008-09 represents a spending increase of $54.3 million, or 5.8 percent, over the current budget. The budget gives Wake County schools an extra $18.5 million, which is about one-third of the increase the school board requested from the county.

The tax increase would bring the county tax rate to 53.4 cents per $100 of valuation and would add $50 to the annual tax bill of a $200,000 house.

Last year's tax rate was 67.8 cents per $100 of valuation, but the Board of Commissioners rolled it back after a countywide property revaluation, preventing the county from collecting a windfall from higher values on homes, land and other real estate.

Property values jumped an average of 43 percent in the revaluation, the first in Wake County since 2000.

The higher values increased the county's tax base from $82.2 billion to $115.8 billion, according to county officials. That would have allowed officials to roll the tax rate back to 50.9 cents and collect the same amount of revenue as last year. County commissioners voted in January to make that their goal.

County Manager David Cooke said that wouldn't have provided enough money to pay the debt service on bonds approved last fall for expansions at Wake Technical Community College and county libraries and to purchase land for open space; to fund operations at new schools; and to increase spending on law enforcement and public safety.

"Our local economy has slowed. This is evident in development-related revenues and sales taxes," Cooke said.

School district administrators recently asked the county for an extra $54 million for next year to fund efforts like gang prevention and literacy programs. The district has proposed a $1.42 billion budget for 2008-09.

The district had requested a $35 million increase from the county in March, saying that growth in the tax base would likely pay for about half of that amount.

"I hope they reconsider this proposal," school board Chairwoman Rosa Gill said of the county budget. "Anything less (than what the district requested) would put us in a pretty bad situation."

The budget proposal also would provide the Wake County Sheriff's Office with an extra $2.8 million to pay for a unit to handle suspected illegal immigrants charged with crimes, extra deputies to track offenders and support the court system and two more latent-print examiners at the City-County Bureau of Identification.

"Will we get everything? Absolutely not, but we try not to ask for that extravagance," Sheriff Donnie Harrison said. "(We ask) that we can operate and make the county safe. That's what we're there for."

The budget also would boost spending to hire 28 firefighters in various fire districts and to add three ambulances to assist during peak times for emergency calls.

The Board of Commissioners will hold two June 2 public hearings on the proposal – at the courthouse at 2 p.m. and at the county government offices at 7 p.m. – before hashing out a final budget on June 9 and approving it June 16.

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  • Alert5 May 20, 2008

    methinkthis

    I AGREE WITH YOU 100%.
    Our new mantra should be VOTE (Vote Out the Tyrannical incumbents). They have buffered themselves from the average man and woman with their pensions for life and; better health care etc...and they simply only care about getting re-elected to further their positions of power.

    Vote them out!!!! All of them!

  • methinkthis May 20, 2008

    Stop busing! Stop the frills on the school construction. Reduce the administrative staff, both schools, city and county governments. Don't ask me for more money. Fixed income with rising expenses. Perhaps we need a large gathering to help our so-called leaders understand the realities.

  • methinkthis May 20, 2008

    Time for a reality check. I can't demand more money from my employer because gas and food cost more. I can hope for more money but it is based on my company making more money and me doing a great job. If I want more money I need to get another source or cut expenses. While the amount is small I have trouble with the mentality of political 'leaders' who think despite significant increases cost of living to taxpayers and decrease in assets (investments and value of house/land) they ask us for more money instead of reducing expenses. We all have to tighten out belts, federal government on down. Instead feds keep printing increasingly inflated currency and state and local governments have the gall to increase taxes and fees. One of the stupider things is this making water cost more because we are using it less. It's companion is funding a program taxing cigarettes which results in decrease in smoking. Let's recall the whole gang starting with the 500+ in Congress.

  • Alert5 May 20, 2008

    Didn't we have a surplus several years ago? Most recently I heard that Raleigh has picked up an additional 50 million dollars more i taxes that expected.
    We have a Democrat-filled state and local government that doesn't know how to say "MORATORIUM" on growth and stop giving away so many tax incentives to "Big Businesses" that don't yield any ROI.

  • Me again May 20, 2008

    I LOVE TAXES!!!! KEEP 'EM COMING!!! WHY JUST 2.5 CENTS? I'd be more than willing to fork over at least a quarter.

    Boy that was hard to type but it's fun considering it's not my money. I bet the Raleigh City Manager lives in Clayton.

  • coolwill May 20, 2008

    The mayor last week stated that it was the federal government job to deal with illegal immigration, but what he fells to understand, when I pay my taxes I don’t want the amount that I pay to be liberal to the illegal aliens, it is the mayors, county manager, city manager, the city council, the county commissioner, the governor, the legislators, and the federal governments job to make sure we are not heavily impacted by illegal immigration and theses anchor babies. A lot of us have already been impacted by the economy already with inflation. It is now time for this local government to act on employers those hirer illegal aliens. My god they have their on buses that go to Texas and Mexico. All around North Carolina, other states have legislation and bills on their books to deal with the illegals, we have none.

  • imtiredofit May 20, 2008

    It's amazing how many of the people of Wake County are getting screwed twice by the latest round of property tax increases in the county. My property value jumped over 50% while the supposed average value in the county went up 38%, then the rate was supposed to go down to make the taxes "revenue neutral". But now they want to pile on another 2.5% on the taxes- making even the 38% increase people pay more than they did before. This really stinks! And by the way, only 2 of the Commissioners had their property values go up by more than the supposed 38% average. The data is out there for anyone to view, it is in the PUBLIC RECORDS. The public should demand an investigation of the Commissioners.

  • Southern Fried Yankee May 20, 2008

    The economy slows so the school board demands higher taxes to make up the difference from their projected growth plans......

    Water gets conserved so the city demands higher water rates to make up the short fall...

    How about MY Roth IRA getting depleted because gas and food have gone up?

    I DEMAND some level of accountability for THAT!!

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama May 19, 2008

    NO MORE TAXES!!!!

    I have to live within my means. I can't go to my boss and ask for more because I spend too much. Our government should be held to the same standard.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama May 19, 2008

    Stop the failed Socialist program of Race Based busing that was renamed Socio Economic busing when the United States Supreme Court ruled against race based busing in the suit against Charlotte / Mecklinburg County.

    Send all kids to the school closest to them.

    Ending busing will save the money that's spent on diesel fuel for race based busing.

    This savings will be large enough to allow the county to reduce our property taxes and the sales tax.

    You would think that liberals and Democrats on the school board would favor ending race based busing because it will also be good for the environment and reduce our dependency on foreign oil which are two of their main political causes. Instead the Democrats and liberals on the school board support race based busing and the damage it does to the environment along with increasing our dependency on foreign oil.

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