Highlights of the Nov. 9, 2022 Board of Commissioners Meeting

Did you miss the Wake County Board of Commissioners’ meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 9? Here are the highlights:

  • On the consent agenda, the Board of Commissioners accepted $446,629 of state funding to help get more families enroll in the Wake County Child Care Subsidy Program, allowing Wake County to serve an additional 2,000 children this year. The board action will also add four full-time caseworker positions to make the process more efficient for families and staff. The full details of the funding are available online, as is information about the Wake County Child Care Subsidy Program.

  • Wake County’s Bridge to Home program will award $3 million to six local homeless services partners after the board allocated a second round of federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding, following an initial tranche of $4.7 million allocated to the program in February. The Bridge to Home program was established in 2021 to fund agencies that provide wrap-around support services to help residents find safe, permanent housing. This round of funding will go to Salvation Army, Triangle Family Services, Healing Transitions, Oak City Cares, Urban Ministries and Haven House. Residents can learn about how this round of Bridge to Home ARPA funding will be disbursed online.

  • The Board of Commissioners unanimously approved updates to the Wake County Tobacco-Free Ordinance. The ordinance now prohibits smoking in all indoor public areas in unincorporated Wake County, like grocery stores and movie theatres, as allowed by NC law. That expands on the existing rules, which already prohibited smoking in county buildings, vehicles, and grounds, including county parks, playgrounds, athletic fields, and greenways. The changes do not apply to public spaces within the county’s 12 municipalities, or private vehicles, homes, private clubs or tobacco shops. The updated ordinance also expands the definition of tobacco products to include vapes and e-cigarettes.

    During the presentation, staff noted that e-cigarette use among NC high school students has increased over 1,000% since 2011 to more than 1 in 5 teens. The county has also hired a full-time Tobacco Prevention specialist to help educate the public on tobacco cessation resources and the details of the new ordinance. Chair Sig Hutchinson said “Tobacco kills. We know that one-third of the people who start smoking cigarettes will die as a result of the complications of tobacco…. We know is that if you can make it more difficult to smoke, people will be more encouraged to stop smoking. Wake County is leading the way.”

    • The board unanimously updated the Wake County Firearms Ordinance, which governs the time and location residents can discharge firearms outdoors in unincorporated Wake County. The changes do not impact rules or rights around hunting, which fall under state law. The changes:

    • Increase the minimum distance from a dwelling, public building or livestock that a firearm can be discharged from 100 yards to 300 yards.

    • Residents can obtain written permission from neighbors whose property is within 300 yards for exceptions to the rule.

    • Backstops that meet industry standards (height must extend 4 feet above the target and 2 feet thick) must be used for target practice.

    • Firearms cannot be discharged between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.

  • Increase the maximum fine for violation from $50 to $500, which is the limit under North Carolina state law.

    The changes are the result of three months of public input and study — including a committee hearing, a public hearing, a listening session in Knightdale, two work sessions, and two readings of the resolution — in an effort to address citizens’ concerns about stray bullets reported close to homes and loud gunfire late at night.

    Citizens can read the firearms ordinance changes, learn how to get county staff assistance meeting safety requirements, and download neighbor permission forms online. The changes will go into effect on Dec. 9, 2022, to allow residents one month to make necessary adjustments to their target practice setups.

Want to dig deeper into the board meeting? The full recording of the meeting is available to watch online, with the meeting called to order at the 12:16 mark.

The Wake County Board of Commissioners’ next regular meeting will be Monday, Nov. 21 at 2 p.m. in Room 2700 of the Wake County Justice Center.

Board Meeting