Local Politics

Proposed Wake budget includes property tax increase

Posted May 15
Updated May 16

— Wake County Manager Jim Hartmann rolled out a $1.26 billion proposed budget for 2017-18 that includes more money for area schools, raises for county employees and a property tax increase for residents.

The proposed 1.45-cent increase to the county's tax rate would add $29 to the annual tax bill for the owner of a $200,000 house.

If the proposed budget is approved, it would mark the fourth straight year county property taxes have gone up.

Hartmann said growth is the driving factor for the tax increase, noting growth is straining county resources. The county population grows by about 67 people each day, he said, up from 64 people a day a few years ago.

The Wake County Public School System would get an extra $16 million under the budget, which also calls for the district to use $21 million in local funds that it does not expect to spend in fiscal year 2017.

The district has had excess money in its budget for the last three years, and this is the first time since Republicans controlled the Board of Commissioners in 2013 that there's been any suggestion of using those unspent dollars to pay for operations."

Although the proposed budget provides only a third of the $45 million in financial support from the county that the school board requested, Hartmann called his education proposal reasonable and responsible.

"I'm recasting the argument here because I think it's the responsible thing to do in light of the fact that we've had tax increases," Hartmann said. "If they take another approach to the budget, they should be able to accommodate their needs this year for that."

School board Chairwoman Monika Johnston-Hostler said the reserve fund is kept for emergencies and isn't meant to fund operations. The district shouldn't be punished for being a good steward of the money it receives, she said.

The board and Superintendent Jim Merrill plan to discuss on Tuesday their budget in light of Hartmann's proposal, and Johnston-Hostler said she looks forward to more dialogue with county commissioners in the coming weeks.

Other increases in the proposed county budget include a 3 percent raise for county employees, additional money to help recruit and retain detention officers at the county jail and to offer signing bonuses and more training to paramedics, funding for seven more school nurses and a nursing supervisor and money for nonprofit partners to open five more food pantries in area schools.

Public hearings will be held on the budget at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on June 5. The Board of Commissioners is expected to adopt a final budget on June 19.


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  • Andy Jackson May 30, 7:33 p.m.
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    Okay Mr. Hartman.....if you're saying GROWTH is the reason for the tax increase, make those causing the GROWTH pay for it. Those families like mine (6th generation Wake Co. Residents) are sick of paying for others to come into our county and causing tax increases for us. This coming from a former, long-term Wake County Employee. The county does NOT need their hands in everything it does, so I'd say a reprioritization of core services is way overdue!!! There are departments that are doing things themselves instead of contracting services out - like the General Services dept. Time for some changes and more contracting out of services!!

  • Jeffrey Derry May 16, 5:27 p.m.
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    Wake County loves them some tax increases.....they are always raising taxes.....more and more government, programs and more programs.....they are awash in cash and obviously do not know how to budget or spend wisely

  • Carl Keehn May 16, 1:45 p.m.
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    And yet, our Legislature is trying to prevent just what you're proposing. Look at HB 436, which would have totally eliminated the authority to collect impact fees. It has been pushed off for a year.

  • Melanie Lane May 16, 11:50 a.m.
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    it's almost like wake county doesn't want to go into the toilet like the republicans in the general assembly wants to happen to NC

  • Andrew Stephenson May 16, 6:48 a.m.
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    View quoted thread

    This was on the ballot in November. Apparently we, the taxpayers, wanted this.

  • John White May 15, 9:04 p.m.
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    Hmmm another tax increase. I wonder where I am going o get that. Everyone things it is only a few dollars more what is so bad about that? Well if you don't have those few dollars more it is too much. Seeing as I've not had an increase in my pay in three years? I am slowly going to lose my ability to actually afford to live here soon. Everyone one is getting an increase but myself. Unlike the government when someone charges me more and if I don't have it well guess what? Something gets turned off.

  • Brian Tucker May 15, 6:20 p.m.
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    NO NO NO .... NO MORE .... We, the taxpayers can't handle another tax increase ... the people moving here should be absorbing the increase along with the builders ... you're forcing us to sell and move !