Local News

Wake expects to lose $17M in slow economy

Posted October 20, 2008 5:41 p.m. EDT

— The slowing economy and the ongoing mortgage crisis could cost Wake County at least $17 million in the coming months, officials said Monday.

Financial projections show sales tax collections in the county will be down about $6.5 million as people cut back on spending, County Manager David Cooke said. A deflated housing market will likely result in the county collecting about $6.4 million less in deed stamps on real estate sales, Cooke said.

Projected losses also include at least $3 million from the 3 percent budget cuts Gov. Mike Easley has ordered from state agencies, Cooke said.

Although the losses amount to less than 2 percent of the county's $984 million budget, Cooke told county commissioners that he has implemented an across-the-board hiring freeze and has halted all travel by county employees, except for trips that have already been arranged.

He also put county departments on notice that they need to start looking for other areas to cut costs in case tax revenue drops even more.

Property taxes account for about 63 percent of the county budget, and the economy has little impact on that revenue, he said.