The Wake County Democratic Party announced Thursday that it is endorsing both the $810 million school bond issue and the $75 million Raleigh transportation bond issue.
In a written statement, Wake Democratic officials said the executive committee voted unanimously Monday to support both bond issues that will appear on the ballot Oct. 8. The endorsements put the party in direct opposition to the Wake County Republican Party, which announced last week it was opposing both bond issues.
Democratic officials said the executive committee was “eager” to support the school bond, which would finance most of a $939.9 million construction program. It would cover building 16 new schools, major renovations at six schools, upgrading aging systems at 79 schools, new technology and other projects.
“Both the County Board of Education and the County Board of Commissioners recognize the need,” Democratic Party Chairman Dan Blue III said in a written statement. “Wake County is growing, the school-age population is growing, and our party’s leadership strongly supports the investment in infrastructure.”
Passage of the school bond would result in a property tax increase of 5.53 cents per $100 valuation. On the average Wake County home, which is assessed at $263,500, it would result in $145.72 more per year in taxes.
The Raleigh transportation bond also would result in a tax increase to pay for a variety of road projects.
“The property tax hike of 1.12 cents per $100 valuation next year is a reasonable price to pay for widened roads, better traffic flow, and improvements for bicyclists in the fast-growing city,” Blue wrote. “As the city grows, the need for efficient transportation increases, and our vote to support this bond is consistent with the tenets of our commitment to the citizens of Wake County. In review, Raleigh’s debt compared to other cities is negligible.”
The Democratic Party also announced its endorsements for this fall’s municipal and school board elections. The party is endorsing the three registered Democrats running against Republicans for seats on the officially nonpartisan school board.
The Republican Party previously announced that it’s backing the three GOP candidates running against those Democrats.
Last week, Republican Party officials said their leadership had overwhelmingly voted to oppose the Raleigh bond issue.
GOP officials said the vote against the school bond was a more difficult 17-16 vote. Republican Party Chairwoman Donna Williams said the vote was over whether to oppose the school bond issue or to take no position on it all.
Williams has said that Republicans recognize the need for the new schools and renovations but don’t trust the Democratic majority on the school board to oversee the projects.