Ellis Recommends $1.7 Billion Budget for Fiscal Year 2023 to Board

Wake County Manager David Ellis tonight presented his Fiscal Year 2023 Recommended Budget to the Wake County Board of Commissioners during its regular meeting.

The $1.7 billion proposal includes significant investments in public health and safety, housing affordability, education and quality of life to help the county meet growing service demands, while accounting for inflation and the rising costs of employee recruitment and retention.

Manager Ellis’ budget proposal includes a 1.5-cent property tax increase for the county’s General Fund, which would bring the property tax rate to 61.5 cents per every $100 of property value. He has not recommended a property tax increase in three years.

If approved, this tax increase would generate an additional $29.2 million for the General Fund. The owner of a $337,000 home, which is the average assessed home value in Wake County, would pay about $50 more per year.

During his presentation, Manager Ellis talked about the impacts that the pandemic, the increase in service demand and the Great Resignation are having on his 4,500 employees. He acknowledged that burn out is a problem in his organization, and it’s led to a 16% turnover rate, the highest the county has experienced in decades.

“Keeping top talent and recruiting new team members in this tight labor market isn’t easy, but I’m committed to making Wake County the employer of choice,” said Manager Ellis. “I recommend increasing pay for our employees, as well as adding more positions to reduce their heavy workloads, so they can better meet our community’s growing demands for service.”

Ellis explained that these steps will stabilize the organization after a challenging two years, enabling Wake County to better serve the community.

The FY2023 Recommended Budget includes:

  • Adding new positions to Wake EMS and the fire departments in the Fire Tax District to address rising 911 call volumes and staffing shortages;
  • Increasing clinic staffing in our regional centers. This will expand the services available to patients, while improving efficiency and reducing transportation barriers to care.
  • Adding $4.2 million in each fiscal year of the county’s capital plan to create new affordable housing units and preserve existing ones to support our most vulnerable residents;
  • Adding 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;
  • Funding 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;
  • Investing more than $968 million, or 57% of the county budget, in education. This includes $4.6 million for Pre-K programs for income-eligible 3 and 4-year-olds, and $582.5 million to support Wake County Public Schools’ operating expenses;
  • Restoring Wake County Public Library hours cut in FY 2021 due to the pandemic. The move would add 10 hours per week back to the operating schedule.

Next Steps
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.

On May 9 at 3 p.m., the board will hold its first work session dedicated to the budget. Residents are invited to attend public hearings on May 11, 16 and 18 to provide feedback on the budget proposal to the commissioners in person.

The public comment period will remain open until May 18 at 6 p.m. At that time, the county will provide a summary of all feedback received to the board. On May 23 at 2 p.m., the commissioners will discuss the public comments and identify any changes to the recommended budget.

The board will consider adopting the budget during its 5 p.m. meeting on June 6.

Fiscal Year 2023 starts July 1, 2022, and runs through June 30, 2023. For more information about Manager Ellis’ budget proposal, visit wakegov.com/budget.

Press Release