Ellis recommends $2 billion Fiscal Year 2025 budget to county commissioners

54% of proposed budget to fund WCPSS, Wake Tech, Smart Start

Wake County Manager David Ellis tonight presented to the Wake County Board of Commissioners a $2 billion budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2025, which runs from July 1, 2024, to June 30, 2025.

It makes critical investments in staffing and infrastructure for public safety, affordable housing and child welfare to address state mandates and the impact of growth. The budget recommendation also invests heavily in education, promotes environmental sustainability, and improves equitable access to parks and libraries, which contribute to our high quality of life.

“This budget aligns with the county’s newly adopted strategic plan,” said Manager Ellis. “It includes funding to advance each of the plan’s six focus areas, so we can improve the quality and reach of our programs and services, while remaining fiscally responsible.”

The proposed budget decreases the current tax rate from 65.7 cents to 51.05 cents per $100 of valuation. Of that, 36.30 cents will fund operating expenses, and 14.75 cents will go towards long-term debt and capital plans.

A resident who owns a $462,000 home, which is roughly the median assessed value in Wake County, will receive a tax bill of $2,358 this year. The effect of the proposed tax rate depends on how each individual taxpayer’s property value changed during the Jan. 1, 2024, revaluation, when our Tax Administration staff updated all the property values in Wake County. As a result, some will see their tax bill increase. Others will pay less in taxes in FY2025.

The FY2025 Recommended Budget includes:

  • Deploying 10 more ambulances to the roads, along with the EMTs and paramedics to staff them, to meet the rising demand for emergency medical care.
  • Adding 16 law enforcement officers to the Wake County Sheriff’s Office patrol unit to address an increase in calls and ensure there are enough staff available to respond when more than one deputy is needed on scene.
  • Adding seven new positions to our Child Welfare Program to help keep children safe, recruit more foster families and place more youth in stable, permanent homes.
  • Increasing funding for WakeBrook, a local behavioral health crisis response facility, by $3 million to support 24/7 crisis stabilization, non-hospital detox and inpatient treatment.
  • Increasing ongoing support for our Affordable Housing Development Program by $4.5 million to help achieve our goal of creating and preserving 2,500 affordable housing units by 2029.
  • Investing nearly $1.1 billion, or 54% of the county budget, in education. In addition to funding education facilities, it includes operating funding of $693 million for the Wake County Public School System, $40.9 million for Wake Tech, and $7.7 million for Pre-K programs for income-eligible 3- and 4-year-olds.
  • Adding the staff and resources needed to open Beech Bluff County Park and Kellam-Wyatt County Park in FY2025 to increase access to nature, educational opportunities and fitness for all our residents.
  • Enhancing access to our library system by replacing our bookmobile, adding more titles to our digital book collection, increasing the number of books available in non-English languages, and implementing assistive technology to better serve people with disabilities or who speak languages other than English.

Proposed Fire Tax

The FY2025 Recommended Budget proposes decreasing the fire tax from 12.27 cents to 10.75 cents per $100 of property value for households in the Fire Tax Special District. It funds fire services in the unincorporated areas of the county and in the Town of Wendell.

The fire tax not only ensures a continued prompt response in rural communities during emergencies, but it also provides firefighters with equipment that works well and keeps them safe.

Next Steps

Starting tonight, residents can share their thoughts on the budget proposal by going to wake.gov, filling out an online form and submitting it to the county.

On May 13, the board will hold its first work session dedicated to this budget. Residents are invited to attend public hearings on May 20 and May 21 to provide feedback on the recommended budget to the commissioners in person. 

The public comment period will remain open until May 22. The county will provide a summary of all feedback received to the board. On May 23, the commissioners will discuss the public comments at the second budget-related work session and consider any changes to the proposed budget.

The board will consider adopting the budget during its 5 p.m. meeting on June 3.

For more information about Manager Ellis’ budget proposal, visit wake.gov/budget.

Press Release