North Raleigh News

Wake Forest budget calls for adding several staff positions

A proposed budget for Wake Forest in the coming year calls for adding several new staff positions and creating an economic development division without raising the property tax rate.

Town Manager Kip Padgett presented his proposed budget to the Wake Forest Board of Commissioners on Tuesday. His budget totals about $62.3 million for the fiscal year that begins July 1 – an increase from the current year’s budget of about $61.2 million.

Last year, town departments requested 16 new staff positions, but the town did make any new hires.

This budget cycle is putting a bigger focus on staffing. Higher revenues from sales and property taxes will allow the town to create 14 new full-time jobs and two part-time jobs and also change two part-time jobs into full-time positions, Padgett said.

The town’s police department would gain many of the new employees – four officers, a sergeant and two public safety communication supervisors.

As the town’s population approaches 40,000, police are responding to more calls, and officers have less time to focus on traffic issues, Padgett said. The new officers would be added to a newly created unit dedicated to traffic.

Other new jobs would be in parks and recreation, administration, finance and fleet maintenance.

The proposal includes a part-time employee to work with Jason Cannon, who was hired earlier this year as Wake Forest’s first economic development director.

An economic development division was created after the Wake Forest Chamber of Commerce passed off business-recruitment duties to the town.

The proposed budget also includes money to replace 15 police cars, street sweepers and other vehicles. It includes funding for new park facilities such as pickleball courts and a new greenway bridge in Kiwanis Park.

Under the proposal, the town would spend $150,000 to conduct design work on a new operations center for the public works department and about $80,000 for engineering assessments to explore ways to fix and expand roadways.

A copy of the proposed budget is located in the town clerk’s office and will be available until May 17, when a public comment period will be held at 7 p.m. in board chambers.

The Board of Commissioners is scheduled to approve the budget at its June 21 meeting.

Chris Cioffi, 919-829-4802; @ReporterCioffi