Wake officials propose tax increase

May 19, 2008 10:21:44 PM PDT
Wake County commissioners are considering a proposed increase in property taxes for 2009.

During a Board of Commissioners meeting Monday afternoon, Wake County Manager David Cooke presented a budget that would raise the property tax rate by 2.5 cents. This comes after rolling back the rate to compensate for a property revaluation.

The $983.4 million dollar proposed budget also reflects a spending increase of $54.3 million dollars or 5.8 percent over the current budget.

That increase adds up to an extra $50 for someone who owns a $200,000 house.

"That seems reasonable with me not a lot of money for us to pony up," Taxpayer, Darren Koons said.

However for homeowners like Cheryl Patterson, they say money is already tight.

"It may not seem like a lot but when you add up all the other increases, everything else that's going on, that gets to be a bit much, because gas prices are about an additional $100 to $150 a month. Food prices about the same thing, that's a lot," Patterson said.

Everything is going up, while growth has slowed down. The county manager says, when that happens revenue generated by property taxes also slows down.

Commissioners know the budget is a bitter pill for taxpayers to swallow in a slowing economy, but the county manager says the increase covers bonds voters approved as well as new schools and public safety positions.

The sheriff's office will see more officers for its new immigration and customs enforcement unit, as well as new courts and a couple of investigators. More firefighters and paramedics will be hired too.

"I think anyone who's concerned ought to speak up. We're at a time when we're going through revaluation everybody is seeing their property values go up and now they're seeing the tax rate go up and so they'll increased taxes so they need to speak out if they think that's going to be a concern," County Commissioner Paul Coble said.

The proposed budget also gives the Wake County Public School System and extra $18.5 million dollars. The school board had asked county commissioners for $55 million dollars.

"I do think we'll hear from them and we'll have pressure as we would normally expect in public hearings, but I do think today what the public is expecting is for government to live within the resources that they've provided." Chairman Joe Bryan said.

The public will have the chance to speak out during public hearings on June 2.


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