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Wake County proposes cutting 100 government jobs in annual budget

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RALEIGH — A draft of Wake County’s annual spending plan calls for removing 107 government jobs and reeling back spending as the county copes with a shortfall in revenue caused by COVID-19. 

The $1.46 billion budget, released Monday, does not include a tax increase, but maintains a 60-cent revenue-neutral tax rate. It would raise the tax rate in the fire tax district by 0.76 cents. It shrinks overall spending by 1%. 

“COVID-19 has drastically changed our revenue picture, leaving us with a gap of nearly $29 million,” said County Manager David Ellis in a statement. “To bridge that gap, I recommend eliminating more than 100 positions across the county, delaying capital investments, and cutting back on contractual services and professional development for our employees.”

The pandemic will likely lower tax collection rates, drop revenue from real estate transactions and developer permits, and slow sales tax revenue. 

Ellis proposed cuts to libraries, ambulances and the animal center. County staff won’t get pay increases under the proposed budget. 

But the budget does preserve funding for child welfare, public health and food and nutrition services, and calls for the adding of new social workers to the county’s homelessness prevention program. 

Elliss recommends giving $516 million to the county school system, $25 to Wake Technical Community College and $7.9 million to the board of elections to operate the 2020 election. 

Check back with The Wake Weekly for more on the county’s proposed annual budget. 

CORRECTION (5-19-20): A previous version of this story stated that the proposed budget did not recommend increasing the current 72.02-cent property tax rate. More specifically, the proposed tax rate is 60 cents per $100, which is the revenue-neutral rate following recent property revaluations in the county.