Wake County Manager David Ellis tonight presented his Fiscal Year 2022 Recommended Budget to the Wake County Board of Commissioners. The $1.56 billion proposal includes significant investments in public health and safety, housing, education and quality of life to help the county meet its growing service demands and achieve outcomes identified by the board.
During his presentation, Manager Ellis also praised county employees for their hard work over the past year in response to COVID-19 and proposed making investments to strengthen the organization, which he described as being “too lean for too long.”
“My recommended budget not only invests funding in the services we’re required by the state and federal governments to provide, but it also supports the areas within our organization where we want – and need – to grow,” said Manager Ellis. “These critical investments will provide our employees with a better work-life balance and help us retain the top talent that makes Wake County great.”
Manager Ellis’ budget proposal does not include a property tax increase for the county’s General Fund. It would keep the property tax rate at 60 cents per every $100 of property value.
The FY2022 Recommended Budget includes:
- Dedicating an additional $1.6 million to address longer-term public health-related needs to ensure the county is prepared to respond to any future disease outbreaks, potential case surges, or additional guidance from the state or federal government;
- Restoring the nearly $1.5 million for affordable housing that was cut in the FY2021 budget. By reinstating this critical funding, the county can help more lower-income families find safe and comfortable places to live;
- Restoring two peak-load ambulances and the eight EMT and paramedic positions needed to run them – all of which were cut in the FY2021 budget. Reinstating them will help Wake EMS respond to increasing calls for life-saving care;
- Investing more than $700,000 in early voting for the March primary election and increasing the stipend for early voting and election day workers to $15 an hour to serve the growing number of voters who want to cast their ballots early;
- Investing more than $890 million – or 57% of the county budget – into education. This includes $350,000 to launch Wake ThreeSchool, a new Pre-K program for 3-year-olds, and more than $539 million to support Wake County Public Schools’ operating expenses;
- Creating a new position for a Diversity and Inclusion Director in the County Manager’s Office and committing funds to help this position identify strategies to encourage equity and develop a plan to implement them; and
- Opening Sandy Pines Preserve – a 563-acre former farm in Eastern Wake County where staff envision offering hiking, horseback riding, fishing and more to the public.
Proposed Increase to the Fire Tax
The FY2022 Recommended Budget proposes raising the fire tax from 9.10 cents to 10.27 cents per $100 of property value for households in the unincorporated areas of the county and the Town of Wendell. These communities don’t receive municipal fire services and, therefore, pay a tax for fire response.
Increasing the fire tax will not only ensure a continued prompt response in rural communities during emergencies, but it will also help us retain great firefighters and provide them with equipment that works well and keeps them safe.
Starting tonight, residents can share their thoughts on the budget proposal by going to our website, filling out an online form and submitting it to the county.
The public comment period will remain open until May 18 at 5 p.m. At that time, the county will provide a summary of all feedback received to the board. On May 24 at 9 a.m., the commissioners will discuss the public comments and identify any changes to the recommended budget.
The board will consider adopting the budget during the 5 p.m. board meeting on June 7.
Fiscal Year 2022 starts July 1, 2021 and runs through June 30, 2022. For more information about Manager Ellis’ budget proposal, visit wakegov.com/budget.