Proposed Wake budget includes 10 percent property tax increase

May 7, 2019

Wake County Manager David Ellis presented his 2020 budget recommendation to the Wake County Board of Commissioners Monday night that would include a nearly 10 percent property tax increase.

The $1.47 billion proposal includes major investments in education, public health and safety and quality of life, according to a news release.

“I’ve spent the past year in my new role analyzing the demand for the core county services we provide to the public,” Ellis said. “My budget recommendation reflects the priority needs we must address to deliver those services at the level our growing population expects and as state regulations require.”

In his recommendation, Ellis included nearly $854 million in investments for education. Of that, $507 million would fund the Wake County Public School System’s operating needs, which is $36.5 million increase from last year.

Last month, Superintendent Cathy Moore laid out the proposal that calls for a $48.8 million increase in local funding. Moore said that $19.5 million of that request is driven by the need to meet state requirements.

Ellis’ budget proposal also includes adding five ambulance shifts and hiring 20 EMTs and paramedics to operate them, funding to the Wake County Board of Elections so it can hold the March presidential primary election and operate 11 early voting sites across the county, and IT security upgrades and network improvements to expand protections against ransomware and phishing scams.

To meet the needs outlined in his budget message, Ellis recommends a 6.36-cent property tax increase. It would bring the county’s property tax rate to 71.8 cents for every $100 of property value.

The proposed increase would mean the owner of a $250,000 home would pay an extra $159 a year in county property taxes.

Of the 6.36-cent increase, 3.8 cents will pay off three bonds voters approved in November 2018:

Residents are invited to share their thoughts on the proposed budget at two public hearings on May 20. The first will take place at the 2 p.m. Board of Commissioners meeting at the Wake County Justice Center, and the second will be held at 7 p.m. at the Wake County Commons Building.

The board is expected to vote on adoption of the county’s budget at its 5 p.m. meeting on June 3.