Local Politics

Wake County passes budget that would raise taxes, money for schools

Posted June 15, 2015

— Wake County homeowners will face a 3.65-cent property tax increase to help pay for the largest one-year jump in county funding to the Wake County Public School System.

The tax hike comes after county commissioners, in a 5-2 vote, approved the county’s 2015-16 budget on Monday.

The property tax increase translates into an additional $73 a year for a $200,000 home.

Wake County homeowners have not had a property tax increase not linked to paying off new bonds since 2006.

Board Chairman James West and Vice Chair Caroline Sullivan voted against the plan.

The vote marked the first time West rejected a final budget. He said he worries about how funding cut from libraries will affect low-income residents.

"I think if we let the state completely off the hook, not only will it put the burden on our citizens, but I think somehow we may even have to pay double before it's over," he said.

Commissioners John Burns and Matt Calabria said they’re against raising taxes, but pointed to cuts in education funding at the state level and said the county would have to fill the gaps.

"We are going to do what we can, but make no mistake, this is a hole and we're dealing with headwinds not of our own making," Burns said.

Wake County schools Superintendent Jim Merrill asked for an additional $48.3 million from the county. Commissioners agreed to a $44.6 million funding increase.

Other items included in the budget include:

  • Converting EMS crews from 24-hour to 12-hour shifts, which officials said would increase flexibility to meet demands.
  • Increasing Wake Technical Community College funding to cover start-up costs and operating expenses for new facilities.
  • Increasing Wake County Board of Elections funding to pay for the March presidential primary and changes to early voting next year.
  • Adding 25 new full- and part-time employees to Wake County Human Services.
  • Opening the Northeast Regional Library and partially restoring funding for library books.
  • Adding 15 new positions at the Wake County Sheriff’s Office, to better serve the increasing number of inmates with mental health and substance abuse problems.


Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • Djofraleigh Anderson Jun 16, 2015
    user avatar

    While I'm a Democrat and Wake is a rich county with rich cities, and yes it is the Democratic way to float bonds to borrow and to raise taxes. I can live with that and what I get for it if only the commissioners would do away with the 2% local sales tax Wake tacked onto the existing state tax of 4.75% which the Democratic fully party is fully aware is regressive and unfair to the poor of Wake County.

    Again, it was the Democrats who gave us the sales tax in 1935 or so, added it to food in the 1960s, and increased it in 1970 when Democrats controlled everything, and then let the municipalities add local sales tax to the state sales tax -- all on the back of the little guy. Get off! It's hypocrisy in action. I don't think the Republicans mind Democrats not walking the walk., do you? I do.

    Plus, the recycle fees, the auto registration fees and other fees should have a high threshold before payment is required, or rebates given to the poorer of us. Renter's unknowingly pay it through the

  • Paul Jones Jun 16, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    Oh, you got off cheap. They said mine was worth at least $50K more than they said it was. I argued against the assessment and provided them with a list of all home sales in my area. Per square foot, my house was much higher than any home sale in the area. And that was before the market crash. Then when the market crashed, it was insane.

    I sold during the downturn (as the upswing was happening), but it was still sold for $40K less than what the government said it was worth. During the sales process, there is a fellow who comes to look at the house to ensure that it's worth what it's being sold for. He agreed that the government takes us for a ride. He said the government even questioned him we he objected to his over-stated property value and he does this for a living!

    I hate seeing taxes going up. Eventually, I'll be paying 100% in taxes. I'm almost there!

  • William Wall Jun 16, 2015
    user avatar

    comment conclusion. In talking with a resident of said apartment, he know of several 2 beroom apartments with as many as 3 families living in the same apartments for a total of 10 people in a 2 bedroom apartment. The apartment owner is paying property tax on said complex as if it is one family per apartment. Thus, the average hard working property owner is paying to educate the children of person in this country illegally. There need to be a tax place on these undocumented children using our tax money. I am tired of working and paying taxes for someone else's free ride. Soon Wake County can take my property tax and shove it for I will me moving to an area where there is not some much free loading on my dime.

  • William Wall Jun 16, 2015
    user avatar

    I think the root cause is being ignored on this subject. Yes, a Democratic majority is far more financially irresponsible with our tax dollars. Yes, teacher have been under paid and were in need of increases. Yet, the real reason needed is the exponentially growth in the number of students versus the growth in property tax paying citizens. Do you realize that there is no screening to whether a student is here legally or not. Nor is there any school taxation placed on the countless person renting low value property. With the influx of undocumented migrants and multi-families living at one property with Grandparents/Inlaws and so forth, it is easy to see where the student growth is coming from. The county derives no tax funding from these users of the system. You only need to travel on the Capital Blvd areas roads to see this in its full display. One bus stop by a low rent apartment complex requires 2 bus to accommodate all the Elementary age Hispanic kids. See next comment.

  • Larry Crowe Jun 16, 2015
    user avatar

    Let's hope that when they re-evaluate properties they take into consideration that the last eval came right after the housing bust so no one's property was worth anywhere near what they claimed it was. they said my property was worth at least 20k more than it has ever been worth.

  • Joseph Smith Jun 15, 2015
    user avatar

    Just another assault on working people. Higher and higher taxes to feed big education.

  • Steven Shannon Jun 15, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    It's almost as annoying as hearing people cry about having to pay teachers on WRAL message boards... almost.

  • Kevin Weidner Jun 15, 2015
    user avatar

    TEACHERS - OK! The fine county commissioners just bumped the school systems budget 34.6 MILLION dollars. Your school board now has control of these funds. Be sure you let them know you expect another PAY INCREASE to prevent you from abandoning Wake County for "Greener" teaching pastures elsewhere. Going forward, the tax paying public does not want to hear ANYMORE moaning and groaning about how underpaid you are. YOUR Board has the funds now - Should they choose to spend it elsewhere, It's on them. No more nonsense about Republican Governors and General Assemblies and people expecting the children to suffer. Again, YOUR board has the funding.

  • Sam Adams Jun 15, 2015
    user avatar

    Enough of the property tax increases!!!! Stop the wasteful spending first!!!

  • Jim Buchanan Jun 15, 2015
    user avatar

    My mother and sister were/are school teachers and yes they work hard, but so do I! It's time for the politicians to take a pay cut or go without for a few years to help offset the amount of taxes we pay. Will it be enough? No way! But, it's a start!!