Local Politics

Paying Dix debt, affordable housing to require Raleigh tax increase

Posted May 17, 2016

— City Manager Ruffin Hall proposed Tuesday an $858.6 million budget for Raleigh for fiscal 2016-17 that includes a tax increase to provide more money for affordable housing and to help pay the debt the city took on last year with its purchase of the Dorothea Dix property.

The budget includes a 2-cent increase to Raleigh's property tax rate – after rolling back the rate following last year's countywide property tax revaluation – that would add $30 to the annual tax bill of a $150,000 house.

Half of the tax increase, about $5.7 million, would help pay down the $52 million the city borrowed last year to buy the Dix property from the state. The city is still in the planning stages of converting the 306-acre site, which formerly housed a psychiatric hospital, to a major park near downtown.

The other half of the tax increase would go to affordable housing, which Hall called a critical investment for Raleigh's neediest residents. The money would help fund a 60 percent increase in affordable rental units, from 200 to 325, across the city.

The proposed budget also includes the following:

  • An average 3.25 percent raise for city employees
  • $1.5 million for Raleigh police body cameras
  • Money for a law enforcement training center and a new fire station to replace Station No. 1 downtown
  • 12 new positions at the 911 call center
  • 15 new positions to oversee downtown cleanliness, such as litter pickup and trash collection
  • $850,000 for public art
  • Money for a bike-sharing program
  • $1.1 million to operate new or renovated parks, including Moore Square, Horseshoe Farm Nature Preserve, Forest Ridge Park and the Thomas Crowder Woodland Center

In addition to the tax increase, Hall also proposed several fee increases for public utilities, including $1 per month for stormwater management projects, 75 cents a month for solid waste disposal and $1.99 per month average in volume-based water and wastewater rates and infrastructure charges.

A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for 7 p.m. June 7 at City Hall. The City Council will hold 4 p.m. work sessions each Monday in June before voting on a final spending plan on June 27.


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  • B.c. Jimmy May 18, 2016
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    The bicycle lanes are a complete flop and you can throw a rock in any direction in this town and hit a cheap apartment. Glad I fled Raleigh in 2001.

  • Virginia Ryce May 18, 2016
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    This is only the beginning of the tax increases. Wait till they tally up all the lost revenue caused by HB2. And for those of us on Duke Energy, they are passing off the costs of the coal ash cleanup on to their customers. SMDH

  • Thomas White May 18, 2016
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    The tax rate was rolled back after properties were reassessed, so it really was not a rollback in the taxes, just the rate. The article implies that taxes went down after the rollback so people should be happy.

  • Thomas White May 18, 2016
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    When you add in fees and the tax increase the average homeowner will pay about $75 more.

    In a News and Observer article: "The Raleigh City Council approved a revised master plan for Chavis Park in 2014 that envisions projects that would cost about $40 million. The 2014 city park bond issue includes $12.5 million for work at Chavis, and city planners are still working on a plan that would help the city decide how to spend that money. (Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/counties/wake-county/article76800957.html#storylink=cpy")

    you can see that the Common Council just wants to spend money. Spending $12.5 million on a park is just stupid. Spending over $2000 per bicycle per year for a bicycle program also makes no sense.

    Cut back on some of the Council's pet projects and you could cut taxes. There needs to be a cost to benefit analysis on all Council projects. Stop saying that the taxes will be minimal and then throw in fees that you are not counting as taxes.

  • Paul Donovan May 18, 2016
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    Where is the comprehensive plan of what the city is going to do with Dix ? Took on a lot of debt with no plan at all

  • Betsy Smith May 17, 2016
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    "Why don't you let the people that live in these places do the yard work instead of State Workers?"

    Excellent suggestion. Anyone over 10 living in assisted housing should have to do yard work. My siblings and I certainly did and we were NOT in public housing.

  • Paul Edwards May 17, 2016
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    Affordable housing. another PC phrase that means "cheap" housing. There is not a house in Raleigh that is not "affordable" to someone.

  • William Mitchell May 17, 2016
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    I must agree in large part with Rob (I can't believe I typed that). What ever happened to "the sins of the father". How long will the contributors be required to pay for everyone else? I can tell you how long....its just about over.