RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Wake County commissioners at Monday’s meeting unanimously voted to adopt the $1.57 billion budget for the 2022 fiscal year.
The budget, when recommended by county manager David Ellis, maintained a tax rate of 60 cents per $100 in property value. It features more investment in public health and restores cuts made last year — many of which were due to the pandemic.
“I think if anything, this budget shows that it’s been a tough year but that your county cares,” said County Commissioner Sig Hutchinson.
The budget 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.
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.
“Those roles that occur within our school system, they are so important and filled with adults that deserve to be trained, paid and valued. Students, their families, staff and our entire wake county community benefit from stability in our schools,” said Kristin Beller, President of the Wake NCAE.
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.
“I think that it’s another solid step towards making sure that everyone in this county is healthy, prosperous, well-educated and safe,” said Wake County Commission Chair Matt Calabria.
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.
The board is hopeful the approved budget will lead to better resources and quality of life for those living and working in the county.
The entire budget can be found online.