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Proposed Raleigh budget holds line on taxes

May 21, 2019

As Wake County comes under fire for a proposed 10 percent property tax increase for the coming year, Raleigh City Manager Ruffin Hall laid out a $518 million budget for fiscal 2020 that doesn’t include a tax increase.

“Balancing a city budget is never easy, and this year’s budget process presented unique challenges as the service demands and growth pressures are outpacing our revenue growth,” Hall wrote in his budget message to the City Council.

“We took this opportunity to strengthen our foundation, prioritizing our commitments to employees and the community above the demands for new or expanded services,” he wrote. “Working within the confines of limited resources, we carefully examined our community priorities ... and used those to guide our choices.”

The spending plan maintains Raleigh’s property tax rate of 43.82 cents per $100 assessed value, although Hall proposed a 75-cent increase in the monthly sewer administration fee and a $1.50 increase in the monthly Solid Waste fee.

The proposed budget is 6.7 percent larger than Raleigh’s current budget and includes raises of up to 6 percent for city workers.

Money also is set aside to replace two fire engines, replace Fire Station No. 1, open a Southeast District police station on Rock Quarry Road, purchase land for an emergency vehicle operations course and add positions in the City Planning, Development Services, Engineering Services, Housing and Neighborhoods, and Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources departments.

The proposed capital improvement budget includes money for 645 affordable housing units, water and sewer system upgrades, improvements and repairs to city parks and greenways, street maintenance, bridge repair, downtown parking improvements and transit projects.

A public hearing on the proposal will be held at 7 p.m. June 4 in the City Council chamber on the second floor of the Avery C. Upchurch Government Complex, 222 W. Hargett St. The City Council will hold budget work sessions at 4 p.m. each Monday in June, if needed. A final budget must be approved by June 30.

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