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Wendell approves $8M budget, maintains current tax rate

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WENDELL — The Wendell Town Board of Commissioners on Tuesday approved spending $8 million over the next fiscal year, creating four new government positions, funding the construction of sidewalks and improving Wendell Park.

The town is maintaining a property tax rate of 49 cents per $100 of assessed value. The owner of a $200,000 home would continue to pay $980 a year in tax.

With the exception of Ben Carroll, who was absent, the commissioners voted unanimously to adopt Town Manager Marc Collins’ budget proposal.

Several of the commissioners praised Collins for the decisions he made in drafting the budget.

“This was my fourth budget — by far the best so far,” Commissioner David Myrick said. “One of my favorite things in the budget is there is no tax increase. So not that your budget won’t go up but that they won’t go up because of us. I think the county has some other plans.”

Wake County Manager David Ellis is proposing raising the county tax rate by more than six cents — nearly 10 percent. County commissioners have not yet adopted a budget or approved a tax increase.

Another item Myrick said he appreciated in the budget was funds to reimburse police officers for gym membership fees.

The budget will create four new town positions: a sworn officer, a police records and training administrator, a public works specialist and a parks maintenance technician. It gives a 2 percent cost of living raise to all employees and allows for an additional 1 percent merit-based raise to reduce compression in the pay scale, Collins said.

The budget uses $696,500 from the town’s rainy-day fund to move forward on various construction projects, including sidewalks on Wendell Boulevard. It will also fund the purchase of new police and public works vehicles, update town technology and make improvements to Wendell Park.

The town will not take on any new debt.

Commissioner Jason Joyner praised the budget for its detail.

“We know where we have been. We know what our numbers are today. We know what our numbers are moving forward,” Joyner said. “I’m excited about this plan because it sets us in a new direction. It not only allows us to take care of our employees, providing services to our citizens, but being good stewards of what we have been given.”