Voters in Wake County to decide on $142 million library bond referendum in the November election

Thursday, July 11, 2024 10:11PM
Wake County taxpayers to vote on $142 million bond in November
Wake County voters will decide in November on a $142 million library bond.

WAKE COUNTY, N.C. -- Taxpayers in Wake County will get to voice via vote whether or not they want to see $142 million spent on building new libraries and renovating older ones.

After hearing from community members during Monday's meeting, county commissioners adopted the resolution to put the bond referendum on the ballot. Taxpayers will get to vote on the bond in the November 2024 election.

According to county leaders, the bond referendum will address the need for top-notch library services across Wake County. This includes funding for various library capital projects beginning in fiscal year 2026 and supports a component of Wake County's Strategic Plan, specifically supporting the goal to ensure high-quality education-based facilities, including libraries, by 2029, the county says.

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.