City weathers three years of economic challenges
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, May 9, 2011
Contact: Keith Richardson, 704-336-5865
With the City of Charlotte having successfully weathered the economic challenges of the past three years, it was a cautious approach to this year’s budget. City Manager Curt Walton presented details of his recommendations for the City’s FY2012 and FY2013 Strategic Operating Plan and FY2012—FY2016 Capital Investment Plan to City Council today. The combined operating and capital plans would total $1.67 billion for FY2012 and $1.71 billion in FY2013. In response to the recent revaluation, which saw property values generally rise across the City, Walton recommended a revenue-neutral City property tax rate, decreasing it from the current 45.86¢ to 43.70¢ per $100 valuation. Under the proposed revenue-neutral rate, annual property taxes on a home valued at $200,000 would be $874.
Stabilizing tax revenues and some modest growth provided the opportunity to address pressing, base budget operating needs associated with public safety and increasing fuel and utility costs. Budget highlights include:
- 3.3 million increase in CMPD’s budget:
- $1.4 million for 13 additional Response Area Commanders
- $1.7 million for 15 additional Police officers at the Airport
- $200,000 for additional youth initiatives
- $1.9 million to address rising fuel and electricity costs
- 25% rate increase for Risk and Insurance costs related to recent experiences with liability and workers compensation costs
- Increasing KBU budgets for training to improve employee professional development
- Second year of increasing the City’s contribution to the local government retirement system to maintain strong financial position
- $300,000 for additional refuse and recycling carts
- Restoring 1% contribution to non-law enforcement employee 401(k) program, increasing the contribution rate back to 3% from 2%
- In the Public Safety Pay Plan, it is recommended that the merit steps not be funded. In addition, it is recommended that there be no adjustment to the pay steps.
- In the Broadbanding Pay Plan, it is recommended that there be no funding for merit increases.
- In lieu of a base pay compensation adjustment, it is recommended that the City Manager be authorized to grant to employees a one-time lump sum payment, up to 1%, based on meeting organizational savings targets for FY2011.
Capital Investment Plan (CIP)
No funding is currently identified for a future bond referendum; however, savings achieved from completed bond projects allows for the $1.9 million renovation of an existing building on the new Fire Headquarters campus (near Dalton Ave. and Graham, St.) for CFD’s Fire Investigations function.
Additional Non-General Fund Highlights
The budget includes water/sewer rate adjustments for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities to improve response times to water leaks, improve customer service, and fund capital improvements. Most customers will see an average increase of 8.8 percent, or an additional $4.49 per month. Under the proposed budget, most residential Storm Water customers would see their monthly charge increase 6.5%, or an additional 43¢ per month.
Over the next few weeks, the Mayor and Council will discuss and make adjustments to the Manager’s recommendations. Citizens may sign up to provide their comments at the budget public hearing by calling the City Clerk’s Office at (704) 336-2248. Next steps in the budget process include:
Council Budget Adjustments May 18
Public Hearing (including Storm Water) May 23, 5pm
Budget Adjustments and Straw Votes June 1
Budget Adoption June 13
For more information, visit citybudget.charmeck.org or keep up with the latest budget developments on City Source, the City’s bi-weekly news show on Thursdays at 7 p.m.