Wake considers major cuts

December 4, 2008 9:00:00 PM PST
Wake County leaders are looking hard at their budget to stay afloat. They're considering a plan to slash spending by 4 percent. That would include cuts to public safety agencies.The cuts will also have major effects on other agencies like Wake Human Services. Already, the waits for health care are long.

"We have to wait longer than 45 minutes. If we have to wait two or three hours there will be problems. People will be cussing and screaming and there will be problems," predicted Wake resident Tyrone Stokes.

If Wake County all budgets by 4 percent, health officials plan an extended hiring freeze. Other cuts include money used to clothe and tutor foster kids.

"Cutting the budget impacts service. That's the bottom line," explained Jeff Hammerstein with Wake EMS

At Wake EMS, 4 percent cuts could mean losing one ambulance on the road and response time which now averages less than 12 minutes would rise.

"Simple math - you have x number of units. You take one away, it's going to be harder to meet the needs than it was before," said Hammerstein.

And a 4 percent cut to the City County Bureau of Investigation could mean cutting all overtime. They say that would lead to fewer investigators for homicide and major felony investigations. Jail bookings will take longer and keep more police officers off the street.

Even county commissioners would cut $1,500 from their local newspaper subscription budget. They would still have a thousand dollars for local papers and they would cut some of their food catering fund, which now adds up to over $10,000 a year.