Wake County Manager David Ellis is proposing historic investments in housing affordability and education in the county’s $1.3 billion recommended budget for Fiscal Year 2019, which runs from July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2019. He presented his proposal to the Wake County Board of Commissioners during a board meeting on May 9.

A Historic Investment in Housing Affordability
Currently, more than 93,000 Wake County residents are living at or below 100 percent of the federal poverty rate. That means roughly 10 percent of our population lives in poverty. For a household of four, that is wages of less than $25,000 a year. They often struggle to find affordable places to live and may experience homelessness.

To help, Ellis recommends investing an additional $15 million a year to build and preserve housing in Wake County that working families can afford. This recurring funding would also support opening a shelter for single women without children and back a county commitment to effectively end veteran homelessness by December 2021.

Over the first five years, this proposed investment would generate $75 million for housing affordability. It represents a 338-percent increase in funding in this area from FY18 to FY19.

A Historic Investment in Education
In this budget, Ellis recommends providing an additional $30,089,000 in operating funds to the Wake County Public School System.

This would bring the county’s total annual investment in the school district to a record-setting $461 million. It would also provide WCPSS with per-pupil funding of $2,618 – the highest amount ever.

Overall, about 53 percent of the county’s FY19 recommended General Fund budget would fund Wake County Public Schools.

In school funding relationships in North Carolina, the county serves as the banker, with the Board of Education having full discretion over how to spend the funds it receives from the county. The county will look to the school system to use its expertise to determine how best to use this historic investment to support its award-winning teachers, staff and students. 

Does the budget proposal include a tax increase?
Yes. Ellis recommends funding these historic investments in education and housing affordability with a 2.9-cent property tax increase, which would bring the county’s property tax rate to 64.4 cents for every $100 of property value. The tax increase would generate about $41.6 million in FY19.

Under this proposal, a property owner would pay an extra $29 in property taxes for every $100,000 of assessed value. Therefore, the owner of a $300,000 home, for example, would pay an additional $87 in property taxes.

Additional Budget Highlights
The proposed budget also recommends investments in behavioral healthcare, county operations and partner organizations, so the county can better meet the demands of growth, advance board goals and provide access for everyone to a high quality of life.

They include:

  • Funding for Wake Technical Community College to hire faculty and staff for its new RTP campus, which is scheduled to open for regular classes in August;

  • Program funding to better coordinate access to mental health and psychiatric services for people with behavioral health needs, including school-aged children;

  • Investments in county operations to honor financial commitments; meet growing demands for services and programs; mitigate risks; and address emerging needs. Efforts include opening new libraries, adding ambulances to Wake County EMS, enhancing the county’s cybersecurity and supporting a comprehensive water supply study; and

  • Support for 10 nonprofit organizations that positively affect the community in areas such as early childhood education, food security, and arts and culture.

Share your comments
You’re invited to share your thoughts on the proposed budget at two public hearings on May 21. The first will take place during the 2 p.m. Board of Commissioners meeting at the Wake County Justice Center; the second will be held at 7 p.m. at the Wake County Commons Building.

The Board of Commissioners is expected to vote on adoption of the county’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget at its 5 p.m. meeting on June 4.

To learn more, choose from the options below.

FY19 Recommended Budget County Manager's Message News Release

Board Meeting Video





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