RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The Wake County manager submitted a budget plan Monday for the next fiscal year that would hike property tax rates.
The proposed $1.7 billion budget would add new slots in Wake EMS and fire departments to “address staffing shortages,” a news release from Wake County said.
County Manager David Ellis said an important part of the budget is recruitment and retention of county employees. He’s proposing a 3.1 percent pay raise for them.
“Making sure we have the resources to recruit and retain our valuable employees is critical right now,” Ellis said.
The Wake County Board of Commissioners is considering raising its own pay.
Right now commissioners make roughly $28,500 per year. They are considering raising that by 132 percent, that would bring their total yearly compensation to $66,223. Ellis told CBS 17 he would support that as part of the budget if that’s the raise commissioners land on.
County Commissioner Chair Sig Hutchinson said while it is technically a part-time job, he works more than 60 hours per week.
CBS 17 asked Hutchinson what he would say to someone who believes the raise is not fair.
“What I would offer the public is that the public needs the best people to run this county, we want the best people to run this county, and from that standpoint we have to compensate people so they can do this job full-time,” Hutchinson said.
The budget includes a 1.5-cent property tax increase, that would bring the property tax rate to 61.5 cents per every $100 of property value.
The tax increase would bring in $29.2 million for the county’s general fund, the news release said.
“The owner of a $337,000 home, which is the average assessed home value in Wake County, would pay about $50 more per year,” the release said.
Ellis said the hike will generate an additional $29.2 million, money he said is needed to handle staffing shortages.
Nearly $970 million of the entire budget — which is 57 percent — would go to education, officials said.
“This includes $4.6 million for pre-K programs for income-eligible 3- and 4-year-olds and $582.5 million to support Wake County Public Schools’ operating expenses,” the news release said.
Wake County Manager David Ellis said that staffing turnover remains high at 16 percent — “the highest the county has experienced in decades,” the release said.
The budget plan would also increase staffing at regional clinics.
As housing and commercial development continue to increase, the budget plan also addresses that with new hires, the news release said.
“This includes inspectors to review design plans, analysts to map properties and monitoring to ensure proper control measures for stormwater are in place,” the release said.
Wake County residents can share their thoughts about the budget on the county website.
Public hearings will be held on May 11, 16 and 18.
The board plans to vote on the budget on June 6 during a 5 p.m. meeting.