Proposed budget includes raises for Wake County employees

Staff writerMay 16, 2011 

— RALEIGH -- Wake County employees would get a 2% raise, their first in three years, under the 2011-2012 budget that county manager David Cooke is presenting to the board of commissioners today.

Under Cooke's proposal, the county would spend $951.5, a $300,000 increase over this year's total, and a tiny indicator of improved financial conditions. The document is subject to commissioners' revisions and approval.

"It's the first time in three years that it's gone up," Cooke said of the overall budget.

Cooke is not proposing a property tax increase. New money in the proposal includes $2.5 million to operate the county's Wakebrook mental health facility and $3.5 for the new jail on Hammond Road.

As previously discussed, Wake County schools will get a status quo allocation of $313.5 million from the county, although the budget offers them the choice whether to continue spending $900,000 on 4-H and Ready to Learn programs, or convert that funding to other uses. In addition, deputy county manager Johnna Rogers noted, the system will have $10 million left over in fund balance from the current year's budget.

Democratic members of the Wake County school board asked this month to send a request to the board of commissioners for an additional $8 million it would cost to keep per-pupil spending at an even level, but the Republican majority voted the measure down.

Human services functions, including foster care for children, are among those hardest hit, the budget planners said. In addition, Cooke's budget eliminates the $500,000 that has been budget annually for one-time grants to nonprofits.

thomas.goldsmith@newsobserver.com or 919-829-8929

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