FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, May 05, 2014
City Manager’s Budget Recommendations Stable and Practical
Proposals emphasize strong value to tax and rate payers
City Manager Ron Carlee presented his budget recommendations today during a presentation to the Charlotte Mayor and City Council. The City Manager emphasized that his recommendations were stable, practical, consistent with Council policy, and represent a strong value to both tax and rate payers. There is no property tax increase recommended for the next fiscal year. Carlee’s total recommended budget, comprised of both the FY2015 Operating Budget and five-year Community Investment Plan, is $2.1 billion.
Operating Budget – Budgeting efficiently to maintain core services upon which residents can depend
The City’s Operating Budget is funded by two major categories of funding: the General Fund and Enterprise Fund. The General Fund is primarily funded by property tax revenue and is anticipated to grow by 3.7% to $584.1 million. The City Manager stressed the proposals address essential requirements to meet service demands that are driven by growth, inflation, and the City’s ongoing commitments. The majority of the General Fund budget continues to be allocated to community safety needs such as police and fire services, with the remaining allocated for economic development, environment, transportation and planning, housing and neighborhood development needs.
Unlike the General Fund, governmental enterprises such as water and sewer, storm water, and the Airport are not funded by general taxes, but by customer or residential service user fees. The exception is Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS), for which a portion is funded by a dedicated sales tax.
Under the City Manager’s recommendations, residential service fees would increase by 1.6% in order to keep pace with growth, service demands, and the cost to provide services. The overall median cost to homeowners for these services, which include General Fund services (e.g. police, fire, solid waste services, transportation), as well as water/sewer and storm water would be approximately $1,537 a year or $4.21 a day, an increase of 6.5¢ per day. In addition to these residential services, the base user transit fares would increase 20¢ to support increased costs and expanded services.
The proposed budget also includes adjustments in pay as well as insurance costs for City employees:
- Public safety employees would receive a 1.5% market increase plus a “step” increase of 2.5% or 5% (up to top step)
- A 3% merit pool would be allocated for general employees
- Employee contributions to medical insurance will range from a decrease of $2.49 per week to an increase of $10.97 per week depending on the level of coverage and plan selected
Community Investment Plan – Meeting the needs of a growing community
Carlee’s proposal included the continuation of the $816.4 million General Community Investment Plan focused on community livability, job growth, and getting around, which was adopted by the City Council last June. The first of the four bond referenda associated with the plan would be on this November’s ballot and include $146 million. It would focus primarily on transportation (e.g. streets, sidewalks, traffic control), as well as neighborhoods and housing.
The Community Investment Plan for the Enterprise Fund departments includes projects such as Airport terminal expansion, the LYNX Blue Line transit extension, storm water flood control and repairs, and water and sewer line rehabilitation and upgrades.
The Mayor and City Council will review and discuss the City Manager’s recommendations in work sessions over the next few weeks, as well as hear from residents and stakeholders at the public hearing on the budget at 7 pm on Monday, May 12. The next steps in Council’s budget process include:
- May 14, 2014: Council Budget Workshop - Budget Adjustments
- May 28, 2014: Council Budget Workshop - Straw Votes
- June 9, 2014: Budget Adoption
To learn more, the public is encouraged to visit citybudget.charmeck.org or view the discussions on the Gov Channel, Cable 16 (Digital 97-2) or online at http://govchannel.charmeck.org.