The Wake County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously on June 6 to adopt the Fiscal Year 2023 budget, which runs from July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023.
The $1.7 billion budget includes significant investments in public health and safety, housing affordability, education and quality of life to help the county meet increasing service demands. It also addresses inflation and the rising costs of employee recruitment and retention.
Investments in Education
Funding for the Wake County Public School System comprises 52% of the FY2023 adopted budget. Investments include:
- A $50 million increase in funding over FY2022 for WCPSS. The county manager had initially recommended a $38 million increase for the school district, and the board opted to raise that amount by $12 million; and
- $40,000 increase to fund Universal School Breakfast for all WCPSS students, so no child has to start a day of learning hungry.
These increases bring the county’s total investment in the WCPSS operating budget to more than $594.2 million.
Impacts on the Property Tax
The commissioners voted to fund these additions to the FY2023 budget by:
- Raising the property tax increase to 1.95 cents, which will generate $38 million in revenue. The county manager recommended a 1.5-cent property tax increase in May. The 0.45 cents added by the board tonight will generate $8.75 million in revenue.
This brings the total tax rate to 61.95 cents per $100 of property tax valuation. The owner of a $337,000 home, which is the average assessed home value in Wake County, would pay about $66 more per year compared with FY2022;
- Decreasing transfers to the Affordable Housing Development Capital Program by $2 million; and
- Delaying the hiring of new county positions by about one month, which will reduce costs in FY2023 by $1.29 million.
These changes result in an FY2023 General Fund appropriation of $1,717,521,000 and a total Capital Improvement Plan of almost $4.08 billion.
Commissioner Salary Adjustment
In FY2023, the commissioners will receive a total annual salary of $37,856 with $9,000 in allowances for travel and technology. For comparison, in FY2022, they received $25,288 with $3,300 in allowances.
This salary adjustment is in line with the county’s efforts to set a living wage for its employees. In the adopted budget, all regular staff will receive at least $18.20/hour.
Other Budget Highlights
In addition to these changes, the FY2023 adopted budget also:
- Adds new positions to Wake EMS and the fire departments in the Fire Tax District to address rising 911 call volumes and staffing shortages;
- Increases clinic staffing in our regional centers. This will expand the services available to patients, while improving efficiency and reducing transportation barriers to care;
- Adds more staff and software to address the increase in development in Wake County. This includes inspectors to review design plans, analysts to map properties and monitoring to ensure proper control measures for stormwater are in place;
- Funds early voting for the November election, as well as increasing pay for temporary Board of Elections administrative staff from $15/hour to $18/hour to attract skilled workers in this challenging labor market; and
- Restores Wake County Public Library hours cut in FY2021 due to the pandemic. The move would open libraries by 10 more hours per week, restoring the operating schedule.