Wake Ed

Wake County Manager to provide recommendation on school funding

The public will find out Monday whether Wake County Manager Jim Hartmann is recommending a property tax increase and how much he’s proposing to give to the school system.

Hartmann will unveil Monday his proposed budget of more than $1 billion for the 2016-17 fiscal year. Various groups will want to know how how much Hartmann is recommending providing them, including the Wake County school system.

The school board voted earlier this month to ask the Wake County Board of Commissioners for $421.7 million – a $35.7 million increase in local funding.

County Commissioner John Burns offered last week what he’s looking for in the new budget.

Burns said he anticipates “a dedication to the lowest responsible tax rate we can sustain while meeting our responsibilities” and “maintenance of historically-high appropriations to the Wake County Public Schools, to continue the recovery from a period of underinvestment.”

Burns also said he’s looking to help people who are in custody with the sheriff’s office, Child Protective Services and Mental Health. Burns said he’s also looking to provide continued support for cultural, economic, educational and charitable institutions.

Last year, the school system asked for a $48.3 million increase. Hartmann proposed a $34.6 million boost that commissioners raised to $44.6 million.

But last year’s record school funding increase led to a property tax increase of 3.65 cents per $100 in assessed property value. With voters expected to be asked to decide in November on a referendum to raise sales taxes a half-cent to pay for the Wake Transit Plan, that could put a damper on raising property taxes this year.

The commissioners will approve the budget in June after holding public hearings and a work session.