Proposed Wake County budget restores cuts made last year, invests long-term in public health

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The budget recommended for Wake County for the 2022 fiscal year would invest more in public health. It would also restore funding cut in last year’s budget for initiatives like public housing, according to a news release.

The budget, which was recommended by county manager David Ellis during Monday’s county commissioners meeting, does not include a raise in the property tax. It would remain at 60 cents per $100 in property value, the release said.

The recommendation features an additional $1.6 million to address longer-term public-health needs “to ensure the county is prepared to respond to any future disease outbreaks, potential case surges, or additional guidance from the state or federal government,” the release said.

Also in the health space, it would restore two peak-load ambulances and the eight EMT and paramedic positions needed to run them. They were cut in last year’s budget.

It would also restore the $1.5 million in funding for affordable housing, which was also cut in last year’s budget, the release said.

More than half of the budget — over $890 million — would go toward education. Of that, $350,000 would be allocated to launching the county’s new pre-K program for 3-year-olds, Wake ThreeSchool.

Another investment laid out in the recommended budget is $700,000 for early voting in the upcoming primary election. Part of that would go to increasing the stipend for early voting and election day workers to $15 an hour, the release said.

While there is no property tax included, it does call for an increase in the fire tax from 9.10 cents to 10.27 cents per $100 in property value. That would be for households in the unincorporated areas of Wake County and the Town of Wendell.

“My recommended budget not only invests funding in the services we’re required by the state and federal governments to provide, but it also supports the areas within our organization where we want – and need – to grow,” Ellis said. “These critical investments will provide our employees with a better work-life balance and help us retain the top talent that makes Wake County great.”

Residents can share their thoughts on the budget proposal online by filling out a form and submitting it. Public comment will remain open until 5 p.m. on May 18. A summary of feedback received will be provided to the board, which will discuss it on May 24 at 9 a.m. The board will then consider adopting the budget during its meeting at 5 p.m. on June 7.

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