Local Politics

Tax increase part of proposed $1.2B Wake budget

Posted May 16, 2016
Updated May 17, 2016

— Wake County Manager Jim Hartmann on Monday proposed a $1.2 billion budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1, including a tax increase.

The proposed 1.35-cent addition to the county's property tax rate – after the rate is rolled back as part of the countywide property revaluation – would add $20.25 to the annual tax bill on a $150,000 home.

"We've got to keep up with the growth rate we're experiencing in the county," Hartmann told the Board of Commissioners.

Wake County trails only the Austin, Texas, area nationally in terms of population growth in recent years, with more than 60 people added each day, he said.

Schools, as usual, account for the bulk of the county budget. Hartmann proposed providing an extra $23.9 million to the Wake County Public School System, for a total of $409.9 million.

The school board recently requested an additional $35.7 million for the coming school year, but Hartmann said the county couldn't meet that request after providing an extra $44.6 million – the largest increase in school funding in Wake County history – last year.

He noted that last year's increase and what he has proposed for 2016-17 would combine for a 20 percent increase in the county's annual support to public schools.

"We think we hit a good spot for the school system’s budget," Hartmann said. "At the end, I have to be sensitive on the tax rates on the public, and we’ve had tax increases the last two years."

School board Chairman Tom Benton said he remains optimistic about getting needed funding included in the county budget.

"We understand the county has a lot of things they have to fund. We look forward to having a discussion about what can be done to boost our funding. We didn’t put fluff in our budget," Benton said. "We may also have to have discussions on what programs we may have to discontinue."

Other increases in the proposed budget would allow Wake Technical Community College to open three buildings at its various campuses and hire technology staff; let county libraries to purchase about 200,000 books; add staff to the detention center and create a medical detox unit there; and expand mental health programs.

"If we want to sacrifice our quality of life, we can approach budgets much differently, but I don't think that's where our community really wants to be," Hartmann said. "We want our quality of life, taking care of the people we need to take care of – all citizens – and do so in a responsible manner."

He also called for a separate tax increase for Wake County's fire district, which covers unincorporated areas in the county and the town of Wendell. Many of the departments within the fire district cannot afford to pay firefighters enough to attract and retain personnel, he said.

The Board of Commissioners will hold two public hearings on the budget proposal on June 6: at 2 p.m. at the Wake County Justice Center downtown and at 7 p.m. at the county offices on Carya Drive. The board will then make any adjustments to the budget during a June 13 work session before voting on the spending plan on June 20.


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  • Shandy Scott May 17, 2016
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    View quoted thread

    Roger the Wake County School Board is 100% Democrats and the Commissioners Board is all Democrats but one.

  • Rob Dunham May 17, 2016
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    No one cares about Roger Clements

  • Rob Dunham May 16, 2016
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    To all of those that are for HB2 I resent you and your Republican friends. I am single, never had children nor do I want children. I am all for paying taxes to support the children you brought into this world and I am also for better teacher wages. The Republican's has taken money we have voted on for bonds and taken money us homeowners have had to pay out in taxes to the Lottery we have in this State to fund special groups. Now the so called wonderful Republican's are facing a showdown on Billions of dollars to suit their needs and not that of the children of N.C. I now feel it is my right to refuse to pay any taxes to this state for the sake I don't believe in these people any longer.

  • Shandy Scott May 16, 2016
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    Our real estate taxes have increased by over 15.3% in the two years. The 800 million dollar bond passed in November of 2013 increased taxes by 9%. Merrill and the board increased it another 6.3% with last year’s budget. In November of 2016 they will be presenting a two billion dollar school bond that will increase it another 22%. The school system’s plan to increase new teachers’ salaries over the next four years will increase taxes by 2.3% a year for the next four years. Add these up. We could be talking a minimum increase in rates over the next several years of well over 45%. Our taxes go up naturally with the increase in the value of our homes. The average increase was just 5% which is another tax increase. The Commissioners Board just increased our taxes yet again by voting for assessments every four years instead of eight. Voters that elected these clowns have no basis to complain. At least they campaigned in increasing spending and increasing taxes.

  • Roger Clements May 16, 2016
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    No need to raise taxes. More people moving here means more people to tax. Or, that's the way it should work.

  • Demute Sainte May 16, 2016
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    Teachers raises cost money.... that money comes from taxes. So how much are homeowners willing to pay? Wake County now spends nearly $10,000 per student. Given all the mess over common core, ever expanding tests, Federal government over-reach. Private schooling is looking better and better. Might consider home-school co-ops.

    We will see.

  • Sheila Rohrbach May 16, 2016
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    surprise,,, I don't think so