Local News

Approved Wake budget includes additional $45 million for schools, tax increase

Posted June 3, 2019 8:01 a.m. EDT
Updated June 3, 2019 11:38 p.m. EDT

— Wake County leaders voted 6-1 Monday night to adopt a $1.47 billion budget plan for 2020.

The budget, which includes major investments in education, public health and safety and quality of life, requests the addition of five ambulance shifts and hiring 20 EMTs and paramedics to operate them.

According to Wake County EMS, service calls are up 18 percent from 2014. In 2018, more than 106,000 calls for help came in from Wake residents.

Adding 20 new positions would improve response times and ultimately could save more lives, according to EMS officials. Additionally, the expanded staff would better position EMS to serve the growing population.

The budget also includes an additional $45 million to fund Wake County's schools.

This marks the first time that the county’s annual contribution to the WCPSS operating budget will exceed half a billion dollars.

The budget also includes a property tax increase of 6.63 cents, bringing the rate to 72.07 cents for every $100 of property value.

With the tax increase, a property owner will pay an extra $66.30 in property taxes for every $100,000 of assessed value. For example, the owner of a $300,000 home will pay an additional $16.58 per month or $198.90 per year in property taxes.

Of the 6.63-cent increase, 3.8 cents will pay off three bonds voters approved in November 2018:

  • $548 million WCPSS construction bond;
  • $349 million Wake Tech infrastructure improvements bond
  • $120 million parks, recreation, greenways and open space bond

Additional budget highlights:

  • Adding 14 new positions to the county’s Child Welfare division
  • Providing funding to the Wake County Board of Elections, so it can hold the March presidential primary election and operate 11 early voting sites across the county
  • Investing in IT security upgrades and network improvements to expand protections against ransomware and phishing scams, which can put our data at risk
  • Increasing accessibility to public libraries by opening new and improved libraries in Cary, Fuquay-Varina and Morrisville. This budget will also expand Sunday hours to six more libraries and eliminate late fees for all library patrons.