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​​Questions about the city manager's budget recommendations
  
Answer
Why does the City Manager's recommended budget propose a tax increase?

​A modest tax increase is being proposed as just one of the several strategic budget adjustments needed to help close the $21.7 million dollar budget gap.  For homes below $267,000, (approximately 80% of homes) the adjusted tax rate results is a decrease to the property tax bill.   

How will the property tax increase work?

The property tax increase is comprised of three components that together total to a 1.76 cent property tax rate adjustment (per $100 valuation): 

  • ​0.99¢ is added to convert the $47 per year single-family residential Solid Waste fee to a property tax equivalent rate that will generate the same level of revenue. 
  • 0.36¢ is added to cover increased costs associated with residential recycling, multi-family refuse collection and increased maintenance for Solid Waste Services collection trucks.
  • 0.41¢ is added as the adjusted "revenue neutral" tax rate that would have been included in the FY2012 budget had the revaluation been correct.  

The proposed recommendations call for an increase in user fees. What are user fees?

​User fees are fees paid to the City by those users who need specialized services such as construction project plan review and inspections. New user fees proposed will cover inspections for fire, historic district review fees and plan fees.  The cost of providing user fees services is currently 16.7 percent subsidized by the General Fund property tax payers, and that subsidy is reduced to 6.2 percent in the FY2016 Recommended Budget.   ​​​​​

Are fees increasing for Storm Water and Charlotte Water? And if so, by how much?

​Storm Water Services

61 percent of Storm Water Service customers will see no change in their monthly bill.  For the 29 percent of residential customers in Tier Three, the monthly variable rate fee will increase $3.91 per month.  For the 10 percent of customers Tier Four, the monthly fee will increase $11.78.
 

Charlotte Water

Water and sewer rates will increase $1.55 per month for the typical user. The rate increase reflects changing economic and regulatory conditions such as new state laws and Clean Water Act requirements.

Why is additional staff being recommended under enterprise funds and capital investments? Where will these people be added?
The enterprise funds generate their own revenues; they are not supported by property taxes. Increased service demands created by a growing and vibrant community coupled with a changing regulatory environment drive the need for more resources in enterprise departments.
  • ​Aviation will add 49 positions in business services, building maintenance and security.
  • Charlotte Area Transit System adds 35 positions for maintenance, start-up and testing of new rail cars for the Blue Line Extension Project.
  • Storm Water Services position count increases by 16 to address the growing backlog of capital maintenance projects
  • Charlotte Water's budget includes an additional 22.25 positions to respond to the regulatory environment and increased water and sewer service demand

  • To implement the expanded Community Investment Plan program, as approved by the citizens in the 2014 bond referendum, nine positions will be added and funded by the capital program (bonds).

  • Within the General Fund, there is a net reduction of 100.75 positions that were already frozen or vacant.​

Why is staff getting any compensation adjustment during this budget shortfall?

​Market data indicates that other public and private organizations plan to offer a 3 percent average pay adjustment in 2015. Due to the budget shortfall, the City will not be able to keep up with this level. However, the City Manager has recommended a 0.75 percent market adjustment for sworn public safety staff plus 2.5 percent or 5 percent steps, and a 1.5 percent merit budget for all other employees. Though reduced, this pay plan is an essential investment in our employees and will help us recruit and retain. 

What are the next steps in the budget process?

The Mayor and City Council will review and discuss the City Manager's recommendations in work sessions over the next few weeks and heard from residents and at public hearing on May 11. See the schedule at the top of the page for upcoming workshops. 

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Randy Harrington and Kim Eagle of the City's Management & Financial Services Department explain the City Manager's recommended budget ​and its impact on residents.​
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