Wake County Blue-Ribbon Committee Releases Final Report
Posted July 17, 2006 7:13 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH, N.C. — Members of a Blue Ribbon Committee appointed to study Wake County growth presented to county commissioners on Monday a final report that outlines the best ways to fund more than $18 billion in new infrastructure needs.
"The question is not (whether) we are going to grow, but how well we are going to grow," said Blue Ribbon Committee Co-Chairman Fred Day.
For six months, the committee, made up of business and community leaders, looked at the areas of the county that need to be changed to accommodate the booming population growth on roadways and in schools, among other areas.
"I expect a plan and changes," said Wake County Commission Chairman Tony Gurley. "A plan will require changes with the way the county has been doing business in the past."
Gurley said county staff will need to prioritize the 67 pages of recommendations. Some ideas are already being carried out, and other ideas, such as a one-cent sales tax option, could be carried out soon.
Other recommendations could be implemented with a single vote, such as reassessing property values more often, which could raise about $2 billion over a 25-year period.
"We believe it's time for us all to wake up," said Karen Rindge with WakeUp Wake County, a pro-growth committee that supports the work of the Blue Ribbon Committee.
The group, however, believes the report did not address ways growth could pay for itself.
"It's time for impact fees in Wake County," Rindge said. "The committee danced around that issue. That was a major stumble."
County staff will now work on ways to implement the plan and discuss whether raising property taxes is part of it.
The Blue Ribbon Report will likely dominate the Board of Commissioners' work sessions in the next several months. Gurley said the county would report to the committee on its progress within the first year.