The Wake County Board of Commissioners approved the County's $1.066 billion fiscal year 2015 (FY 2015) budget during its regularly scheduled meeting Monday, June 16, 2014. The adopted budget reflects an increase of $3,887,000 from the recommended budget, and includes increased spending for education compared to the recommended budget that was presented on Monday, May 19, 2014.
The adopted budget includes a property tax increase of 4.4 cents, for a final property tax rate of 57.8 cents per $100 property valuation. The tax increase, dedicated to the $983.8 million Wake County Public School System (WCPSS) 2013 building program, was approved by the public in October 2013.
"Education is a key issue for our community," said Wake County Manager Jim Hartmann. "Wake County Public School System staff and County staff have worked together closely to identify short-term and ongoing steps for determining sustainable school funding options."
The budget increases the direct allocation to WCPSS by $13.9 million, to a total of $341,426,400, which is 4.3 percent more than was provided last year. School funding, including debt and capital, makes up 51 percent of the County's general fund budget. The FY 2015 adopted budget also includes a reserve and a Fund Balance Exchange Incentive that gives WCPSS an opportunity to increase its County funding.
"The reserve will provide an additional appropriation to the WCPSS contingent upon the Board of Education utilizing the $3,750,000 to increase the locally funded teacher supplement scale," said Hartmann. "The Fund Balance Exchange Incentive invites schools to return some of their unused fund balance to the County this year in exchange for an increased, recurring funding of roughly 20 percent of the amount returned."
Besides the direct allocation to WCPSS, the budget provides a little more than $8 million in schools-related County department funding.
The approved budget also increases spending for the Board of Commissioners' focus areas of public safety and community health and vitality:
Community Health and Vitality
- Expanded ambulance service and staff for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to keep pace with population growth
- New blood/alcohol analysis equipment and chemists for the City-County Bureau of Identification (CCBI) to accommodate increased driving while impaired (DWI) cases
- Courthouse security and critical technology infrastructure for the Sheriff's Office
The FY 2015 budget also increases East Wake Transfer Station tipping fee by $3 per ton to a total fee of $39 per ton, maintains the Fire Tax District tax rate at eight cents per $100 property valuation and the household disposal fee at $20 per household per year.
- Two staff to ensure that restaurants, hotels, childcare facilities and nursing homes meet sanitation guidelines
- Six additional staff for child protective services and adult guardianship cases
- Ten school health nurses to provide health services in underserved areas
- Seven staff to support increased development in the County
- Continue enhanced staffing level, both permanent and temporary, to meet Food and Nutrition and Medicaid eligibility goals