May 7, 2024 - News

Wake County's proposed $2B budget directs more than half to education

A view of the downtown Raleigh skyline at night

Downtown Raleigh's skyline. Photo: VisitRaleigh

More than half of Wake County's $2 billion proposed budget would go toward education, if county commissioners approve spending priorities put forward by county manager David Ellis.

Why it matters: The county is responsible for a variety of public spending, including Wake County Public School System. It also sets the tax rate that landowners in the county pay.

Driving the news: Property values soared by 50.6% across Wake County between 2020 and 2024 — the largest-ever increase during a four-year re-evaluation cycle.

  • To take that growth into account, Ellis proposed decreasing the current tax rate from 65.7 cents per $100 of valuation to 51.05 cents per $100 of valuation.
  • That would mean a resident who owns a $462,000 home — about the median assessed value in the county — would have a tax bill of $2,358.
  • Whether or not that is more than a previous resident's tax bill will depend on how much their property value has appreciated over the last four years.

By the numbers: More than half of Ellis' proposed budget is directed toward education, including:

  • $693 million for Wake County public schools, an increase of $49 million. Wake County Public School Superintendent Robert Taylor had asked the county earlier this year for an increase of $58.3 million.
  • Wake Technical Community College's budget would increase by $3.4 million to $40.9 million.
  • Spending on pre-K programs would be $7.7 million.

The budget also calls for:

  • Adding 10 new ambulances to the county's fleet
  • 16 additional law enforcement officers to the Wake County Sheriff's Office
  • $3 million more for WakeBrook, a local behavioral health crisis response facility
  • Adding another $4.5 million to the county's affordable housing program

What's next: Wake County will hold a public hearing on the budget at 2pm on May 20 at the Wake County Justice Center in room 2800 (300 S. Salisbury St. in Raleigh), per WRAL.

  • Another public hearing will take place May 21 at 7pm in the Commons Building at 4011 Carya Drive in Raleigh.
  • The budget could be voted on in June.

Go deeper: Read the county manager's budget presentation

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