Southwest Wake News

Apex holds first budget hearing; Fuquay-Varina library site moves forward

The popular Splash Pad in Fuquay-Varina.
The popular Splash Pad in Fuquay-Varina.

Apex holds first budget hearing

Apex invited residents Tuesday to weigh in on the draft budget released April 21 for the 2016-17 fiscal year. The Town Council is required to approve a finalized budget by the end of June.

Jeff Hastings, a member of the Wake County Historical Commission and the Apex Historical Board, requested that the town reconsider its decision of not including funding for the Apex Historical Society in its draft.

Kate Macdonnell, an Apex resident, asked that the town consider hiring parks and public works staff with environmental backgrounds as it adds staff positions, echoing those who had raised the issue of sustainability during a public hearing earlier that evening about the town’s growth and land use.

Council members Gene Schulze and Bill Jensen said they hope to schedule an additional budget workshop. Town Manager Drew Havens agreed to do so, but a date for the workshop had not been agreed upon as of Thursday.

“I think it’s a good idea, because I want to tweak the dickens out of (the budget),” Jensen said.

Havens said the draft budget is notable for being the first in Apex’s history to top $100 million; expenditures from the town’s three major funds would total just more than $102 million.

The proposed tax rate is 38 cents per $100 of property value. That’s lower than the current rate of 39 cents, but higher than the revenue neutral rate at which revenue would have remained constant, calculated this year at 36.1 cents.

The draft calls for no increase in water, sewer and electric rates, a slight increase in recycling rates and a slight decrease in trash pick-up rates. Under those conditions, the town’s budget for its major funds in 2016-17 is set at $102.6 million.

Fuquay-Varina charging non-residents Splash Pad fee

The Fuquay-Varina Board of Commissioners agreed Monday to implement a $2 fee for Fuquay-Varina’s popular Splash Pad water park this summer, but limited it to non-residents.

The fee is designed to recoup some of the cost of the $335,000 facility, which opened last summer and was free to the general public the entire season.

“We do not want to go another season where the community becomes accustomed to free use of the facility,” Mitchell said. “It becomes harder after that to impose a charge.”

The Splash Pad is tentatively scheduled to open June 4, pending the completion of a new restroom facility. The 6,000-square-foot attraction, located in the town’s South Park, will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Wake County approves new library site in Fuquay-Varina

A vote from the Wake County commissioners Tuesday evening confirmed the county will move ahead with plans to build a larger community library just east of Fuquay-Varina’s downtown.

The commissioners approved the purchase of 5.25 acres of land off North Judd Parkway, near the Southern Regional Center, as the site of the 8,500-square-foot library, twice the size of the town’s existing community library. The county will spend $972,000 to buy the land next to Wake County’s Southern Regional Center. The site was chosen from more than 20 potential sites.

Discussions of the library at a town board meeting in late March revealed Wake County was considering the site for its potential to be expanded into a regional library in the future. Fuquay-Varina commissioner Marilyn Gardner voted against a resolution endorsing the site at the board’s March 11 meeting, saying she had hoped to keep the town’s library at or closer to its current downtown site.

The current library site at 133 S. Fuquay Ave., will be released to the town for public use, the county said. Construction is scheduled to begin in the winter of 2017 and would be open by early 2018, according to the county.

Gargan: 919-460-2604; @hgargan