Includes more than $1 billion for education
Wake County Manager David Ellis tonight presented his Fiscal Year 2024 Recommended Budget to the Wake County Board of Commissioners during its regular meeting.
The $1.8 billion proposal includes significant investments in public safety, housing affordability, child welfare, behavioral health and education to address the needs of our growing community, while accounting for inflation and the rising costs of employee recruitment and retention.
Manager Ellis’ budget proposal includes a 2.25-cent property tax increase for the county’s General Fund. That’s in addition to the 1-cent property tax increase needed to fund the education bonds that the voters approved in November to renovate or build new facilities for the Wake County Public School System and Wake Tech.
A total tax increase of 3.25 cents would bring the property tax rate to 65.2 cents per every $100 of property value. If approved, this tax increase would generate an additional $65 million for the General Fund and the Debt Service Fund. The owner of a $300,000 home, which is roughly the median assessed home value in Wake County, would pay about $98 more in FY2024.
During his presentation, Manager Ellis said that his budget proposal focuses on three themes: community safety, continuing to reimagine how the county does business and a people-first approach.
“Before I started building the budget, I asked our staff to find new ways to reduce costs, increase efficiency and better utilize existing resources,” said Manager Ellis. “Then, I closely evaluated the requests for additional funding and included in my recommended budget those that would have a real impact on the health, safety and wellbeing of our nearly 1.2 million residents.”
Cost increases and requests for additional funding in FY2024 from county departments and education partners such as WCPSS and Wake Tech totaled more than $175 million.
The FY2024 Recommended Budget includes:
- Adding 20 new positions and the ambulances for Wake County EMS to address rising 911 call volumes and more severe incidents;
- Purchasing a second set of turnout gear for firefighters in the Fire Tax District to reduce their risk of cancer;
- Launching the $1.3 million Major Repair Community Development Program to provide home repair assistance to low-income homeowners through low-interest or forgivable loans;
- Increasing funding for WakeBrook, a local behavioral health crisis response facility, by 39% to support 24/7 crisis stabilization, non-hospital detox and inpatient treatment;
- Adding 15 positions to our Child Welfare Program to help keep children safe, recruit foster families and place more children in stable, permanent homes;
- Investing nearly $1.06 billion, or 57% of the county budget, in education. In addition to funding education facilities, it includes operating funding of $5 million for Pre-K programs for income-eligible 3- and 4-year-olds; $634 million to support WCPSS’s operating expenses; and $32.5 million for Wake Tech; and
- Opening Beech Bluff County Park – our first new county park since 2006. It spans 240 acres and will expand access to recreation in the southeast corner of Wake County.
Proposed Fire Tax Increase
The FY2024 Recommended Budget proposes raising the fire tax from 10.27 cents to 12.27 cents per $100 of property value for households in the Fire Tax Special District. For those who aren’t familiar, the Fire Tax District funds fire services in the unincorporated areas of the county and in the Town of Wendell.
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.
On May 8, the board will hold its first work session dedicated to the budget. Residents are invited to attend public hearings on May 9, 15 and 16 to provide feedback on the budget proposal to the commissioners in person.
The public comment period will remain open until May 19 at 5 p.m. At that time, the county will provide a summary of all feedback received to the board. On May 22, the commissioners will discuss the public comments at the second budget-related work session and consider any changes to the recommended budget.
The board will consider adopting the budget during its 5 p.m. meeting on June 5.
Fiscal Year 2024 starts July 1, 2023, and runs through June 30, 2024. For more information about Manager Ellis’ budget proposal, visit wake.gov/budget.