Triangle residents share thoughts on potential $142 million bond for Wake County libraries

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Thursday, July 11, 2024
Wake County taxpayers to vote on $142 million bond in November
Wake County voters will decide in November on a $142 million library bond.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Wake County voters will decide in November on a $142 million library bond. However, it does come with a cost.

"It's definitely important for the community, especially the children and folks like myself. But the computer broke down today. I'm here, but it's pretty great. And the people customer service in here is fantastic. It's great," said resident Felix Padilla at Green Road Branch Library.

If approved by voters, the bond will fund various library capital projects starting in 2026, such as adding new libraries to Rolesville and Apex, replace, expand, or renovate certain existing libraries.

"It would just be really nice that to have them to allow them to have more and more space. I think for activities, I think they're trying to do a really good job of putting on activities for children and they could use some more space for that," said Amanda Fedorowicz.

There was feedback at the latest Board of Commissioners meeting, and residents shared passionate comments about the Athens Drive library and Southeast library.

"I have two 'asks' for today. One: when the county is considering...the future of Athens Drive, consider walkability and access to transit. My second is that the new library be adjacent or maximum a mile and half away from it's current location, "said Hannah.

While many are onboard with improvements, Wake County anticipates a $2.50 tax increase per year would be needed.

"It's great, everything in this area is growing," said Padilla.

According to Wake County, the last bond referendum held for library was in October 2007 to fund $45 million in renovations, it passed with 70% voter approval.

Where will the $142 million go?

Wake County leaders say they want to decrease the time it takes for people to access their neighborhood library. The list of projects below from the county and how they would like to use the bond money.

  • A new community library in Rolesville: Rolesville is the only municipality in Wake County that doesn't currently have a library, and it is one of the fastest-growing communities.
  • A new community library in the Friendship area of Apex to meet the needs of the area's growing population.
  • Replacement of the Athens Drive Community Library: When the Wake County Public School System renovates Athens Drive High School in 2026, a new library will need to be built to serve this area.
  • Replacement of the Wendell Community Library: The smallest library in the system is no longer adequate to serve the rapidly growing Wendell population.
  • Expansion of the Fuquay-Varina Community Library from a community library to a regional library. The library has seen the highest circulation of all community libraries - and even more than several regional libraries, the county says.
  • Another new facility-location to be determined.

The board says it will continue to consider options to address needs including digital equity concerns and providing more library services to underserved populations across the county.

Libraries that would get renovations

The county says these projects will focus on aging facilities, system replacements, furniture and other upgrades.

  • Express Library - Fayetteville Street
  • Green Road Community Library
  • Leesville Community Library
  • Library Administration Building
  • Northeast Regional Library
  • Richard B. Harrison Community Library
  • Southeast Regional Library

  • Zebulon Community Library

Wake County leaders anticipate a $2.50 tax increase (per $100,000 of assessed valuation) would be necessary in fiscal year 2026 if the bond is approved by voters. Staff would need to reassess and confirm the appropriate tax increase in early 2025 as part of the fiscal year 2026 budget process. It would go into effect July 1, 2025.

Wake County last held a bond referendum for libraries in October 2007 to fund $45 million in renovations, replacements and expansions. This referendum passed with 70% voter approval.