Public weighs in on 10 percent Wake Co. property tax hike

WAKE COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- Whether they were for or against the proposed 10 percent Wake County property tax hike, both sides were well represented at Monday night's public hearing at the Commons Building.

The $1.47 billion spending plan includes a 6.36 cent increase in property taxes made for a lively hearing. At one point Wake Commission Chair Jessica Holmes stopped the hearing to admonish the audience for their boos and cheers that disrupted speakers.

Some taxpayers who opposed to the tax increase shouted and hoisted signs reading "No Tax Hike" and '"Cut Costs First."

On the other side of the room sat a large number of Wake County parents and teachers, wearing red for education, loudly applauding each speaker who spoke in favor of fully funding Wake schools' $48.9 million budget request.

As it stands now, Wake County Manager David Ellis is proposing to give WCPSS $36.5 million in additional funding in FY2020.

The opposition says the county is not doing enough to manage current tax dollars.

"Given the current budget or current tax increase of property values or the percentage already we really need to have a budget with that high a percentage increase?" Yi Zeng said to commissioners.

Those in favor of the tax hike said they were happy to pay more in exchange for better schools, parks and services.

"The real fear in the voices of our school board representatives is what is going to get cut this year because of pressures from the state and the funding. However much you're giving is not completely adequate to the needs of the school system," said Renee Seagal, a Wake parent and PTA member.

Of the 6.36 cent property tax increase, more than half of it goes toward funding the three bonds approved by county voters last November; 3.8 cents toward the bonds, 2.56 cents toward other Wake County needs including the schools.

Monday night's public hearing along with an afternoon session marks the only chance for taxpayers to weigh on the budget.

Commissioners will now take what they heard into consideration before a final budget vote June 3.
Copyright © 2019 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.