RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – From public safety to public schools, Wake County leaders talked about solutions to top issues affecting more than one million people.
The Wake State of the County 2023 was “Better Together,” highlighting partnerships between the county, its 12 municipalities and many more local organizations.
A recent Wake County survey shows top county-wide concerns are fast growth and affordable housing.
“Wake County, we hear you. We’re listening,” Wake County Chair Shinica Thomas said.
Thomas said county leaders are going on an affordable housing listening tour to see what can improve across the area.
“We’re sitting down with local elected officials to hear about each communities needs and to show them the full support that Wake County can offer,” Thomas said.
For the first time at a State of the County Address, the county sheriff took a seat on the panel.
Sheriff Willie Rowe touched on staffing, having filled 128 of the 200 vacancies he inherited when taking office almost a year ago.
“But we’re making that progress, and I think everybody knows that we’re serious about being working together,” Rowe said.
He also discussed his top concern for public safety moving forward.
“The increase in gun violence, we have to really be concerned about it,” Rowe said. “I’m just looking at innovative ways, not just enforcement aspect, but also reach out in the community and talk to people.”
School board chair Lindsay Mahaffey also spoke on staffing, saying the county has stepped in to boost pay for teachers and staff.
“Very grateful for the collaboration that we have with the county commission who steps in to fill in the gap many, many times when our state funding falls a little short,” Mahaffey said.
The State of the County address also highlighted the approval of hundreds of millions hospitality tax dollars approved to improve PNC Arena and the Raleigh Convention Center.