Wake County Commissioners voted unanimously Monday to put three separate bond referendums on the November ballot.
Passing all three would direct the county to borrow more than $1 billion in general obligation bonds to develop parks and greenways, expand Wake Tech, and build and renovate new public schools. That would increase property taxes by 3.8 cents.
Board Chairwoman Jessica Holmes praised the ballot initiatives.
“This is a big deal for Wake County,” Holmes said. “We're investing in our schools. We're investing in our community. We're creating jobs. We're investing in our economy and, more importantly, in our children. So, I'm really excited about the direction we're headed in, and we need voters to understand the importance of this bond.”
Holmes said the county stands to save up to $50 million dollars by using general obligation bonds as opposed to other debt.
“This is the least expensive way for us to build schools that we are constitutionally required to build,” Holmes said.
Building and renovating new public schools would take up more than half the borrowed sum.
Commissioner Erv Portman lamented that the the state is not sufficiently funding local schools, leaving the county to bear the brunt of operations costs. Portman said the board of commissioners should establish guidelines for funding schools to rein in future school spending.
“We need to adopt a more formal approach so that the school system will know exactly how much the county can continue to fund each year,” Portman said. “Because the public will not support continuing tax increases year after year after year with no end in sight.”
Holmes supported holding town hall meetings before the election to educate voters about the initiatives.
This post has been corrected to reflect that property taxes would increase by 3.8 percent.