Rapid growth in Raleigh risks budget shortfall, reduced emergency response times, city report warns

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Wednesday, March 1, 2023
Rapid growth in Raleigh raises concerns in City Hall
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Raleigh's Budget and Management Director warns of potential budget shortfall as city sees increase in annexation requests.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- In a recent City of Raleigh budget meeting, councilmembers heard the city's budget and management director give a report on a potential budget shortfall for fiscal year 2024.

The report showed expenses for the fiscal year would exceed revenue the City receives and create a gap of between $500,000 and $6.4 million.

"At the moment, these are all just preliminary numbers," said director Sadia Sattar. "I'm going to keep saying that so you all know that this is just an overview. We'll come up with really strong numbers on May 16, knock on wood, when we present a balanced budget."

The news comes as the City of Raleigh received 40 annexation requests, most from developers, to be included within city services. Not all were approved and some are still pending. Year to date, 11 annexation requests have been submitted.

If approved, the annexations would require the city to expand services like trash, water, sewer, fire and EMS and police. That expansion is what could cause the budget shortfall.

Derek Boyd, who moved to Raleigh from Miami last year, has felt the impact in his subdivision near Interstate 540.

SEE ALSO: Raleigh and Durham rank 4th in fastest-growing cities for 2022, American Growth Project finds

"In the beginning, it seems like we would get missed. Like, kind of forgotten for collection," said Boyd. "So sometimes in the past month or so, they might have missed our recycling or trash one day."

As Boyd deals with waste management delays, other residents have the potential to face other more consequential impacts, such as delays in emergency response.

"The problem we have is not a real problem of concern. It's a great problem....growth. Who doesn't want growth," said Raleigh Fire Chief Herb Griffin. "So we own a roadmap right now to show other cities how to grow. We want to grow the right way to meet the needs of the community that we're serving. So growth is good. But let's put a plan together to meet the needs of the growth that we're experiencing now in the city of Raleigh."

If not addressed properly, however, it can lead to problems.

"With current assets as we continue to annex out and grow further, it creates sometimes a potential for increased response times. And that in turn creates a firefighter safety hazard if not addressed correctly," ," Griffin said.

SEE ALSO: People are moving to North Carolina, but opting not to live in downtown areas, data shows