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Breaking down the three bonds: what they are, what they will do and what they will cost
This year, when you go to the polls, you’ll find three bonds on the ballot—the most ever Raleighites have been asked to vote on at one time. What’s at stake? The future of parks (Raleigh Parks Bond Referendum), the future of schools (Wake County Public School Bond) and the expansion of Wake Tech Community College (Wake Tech Workforce Forward Bond). Worth noting, Raleigh voters haven’t voted down a bond in over 20 years.
Not all citizens realize that bonds aren’t about just shifting city money from pot A to pot B. Instead, there is a direct tax impact on taxpayers. To get us all up to speed—as a quick refresh or a sort of “bonds recap”—bonds are the cheapest way for a city or county to raise money and build infrastructure. For example, this year’s Parks Bond means $275 million for city parks—and equates to about a 4-cent tax increase to Raleigh homeowners, explains City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department Director Stephen C. Bentley. Translation: Raleigh homeowners with a January 2021 median tax value of $256,578 would see an estimated tax impact of approximately $103 annually.
So as inflation soars and with so much at stake in a city seeing seismic growth, we take a look at the three bonds on this year’s ballot and break down their potential impact against cost to Raleigh taxpayers. And as you cast your vote this Nov. 8—bonds or not—remember who you vote for determines how our tax dollars are spent.
Raleigh Parks Bond Referendum | $275 million
The bond referendum is an investment in Raleigh’s overall quality of life and community health, including our environmental, social, physical and mental health, as the pandemic has clearly demonstrated the essential value of our parks and recreation opportunities. This bond also provides equitable investments in new park construction and renovations across Raleigh to meet the changing needs in our greater community.
4-cent tax increase to Raleigh homeowners—estimated tax impact on median tax value home ($256,578 in January 2021) is approximately $103 annually.
- Big Branch Greenway Connector
- Green Road Park improvements
- Mine Creek Greenway improvements
- Sertoma Art Center improvements
- Kyle Drive master plan and implementation
- Neuse River Park
- Biltmore Hills Tennis improvements
- John Chavis Historic Park Phase 2 (Aquatic Center and Heritage Plaza)
- South Park Heritage Walk and Top Greene Center improvements
- Tarboro Community Center
- Marsh Creek Greenway feasibility and
- preliminary design
- Walnut Creek Greenway improvements
- Devereux Meadows implementation
- Dix Park: Play plaza, buildings and operations upfit + Phase 2 design
- Lake Wheeler Road and multiuse path improvements
- Method Community Center improvements
- Erinsbrook Park implementation
- Lake Lynn Trail Loop improvements
- Strickland and Leesville road park improvements
Wake County Public School System Bond | $530.7 Million
The bond would go toward 2024–25 WCPSS capital needs, including funds for five new schools and renovations of seven existing schools. To fund, the county would add 1 cent to property tax, or $10 for every $100,000 of assessed value. Per the County, beginning in the 2024 fiscal year, a Wake County homeowner with an average assessed home value of $337,000 would see an additional $33.70 on their annual property tax bill.
Per the County, beginning in the 2024 fiscal year, a Wake County homeowner with an average assessed home value of $337,000 would see an additional $33.70 on their annual property tax bill.
- Pleasant Plains Elementary School (Apex)
- Bowling Road Elementary School (Fuquay-Varina)
- Wendell Elementary School (Wendell)
- Parkside Middle School (Morrisville)
- Unidentified high school (West Cary and Morrisville)
- Lockhart Elementary School (Knightdale)
- Brentwood Elementary School (Raleigh)
- Briarcliff Elementary School (Cary)
- Washington Elementary School (Raleigh)
- North Garner Middle School (Garner)
- Ligon Middle School (Raleigh)
- Athen Drive High School (Raleigh)
Wake Tech Workforce Forward Bond | $353.2 million
The Wake Tech Bond would allocate money to Wake Tech Community College new buildings and repairs. A national study by Georgetown University’s Center for Education and the Workplace ranks Wake Tech in the top 20% of all colleges and universities in the nation, and the top 10% in North Carolina for student ROI 10 years after graduation. Investments in Wake Tech help provide job opportunities; create the skilled workforce a growing economy requires; and deliver a proven return on investment for students and the whole community. Independent studies indicate that Wake Tech generates more than $1 billion annually for our local economy, with each dollar invested in Wake Tech generating more than $7 in added income and social savings.
As with the WCPSS bond, to fund, the county would add 1 cent to property tax, or $10 for every $100,000 of assessed value.
- Perry Health Sciences Campus expansion
- Permanent Western Wake Campus
- New Cyber Science facility on RTP Campus
- Investments on infrastructure
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