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Tuesday, June 7, 2005 Commission Capsule

A summary of decisions made by the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners:

The Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners met in the Charlotte Mecklenburg Government Center on Tuesday, June 7, 2005. The meeting was televised live on The Government Channel, cable 16 and rebroadcast on WTVI at midnight. The meeting was scheduled for re-telecast on channel 16 June 8 at 9 a.m., June 10 at 9 p.m. and June 11 at 8 a.m. It also airs at various times on GOV-TV, Time-Warner Digital Cable Channel 232.


PROCLAMATIONS AND AWARDS.  The Board of County Commissioners recognized Jan Thompson, Director of Inmate Services for the Sheriff's Office, for receiving the Liberty Bell Award from the Mecklenburg County Bar.

PUBLIC APPEARANCE. The following people addressed the Board: James Barnett on the program "Love, Forgiveness and a Second Chance;" Johnny Cowart on the building code; Phillip Benhan and Timothy Hanline on the Equal Employment Opportunity Resolution; Ben III spoke on youth and right choices; Donna Jenkins Dawson on second chances.

APPOINTMENTS. The Board made the following appointments:

Howard James and Susan Shellhorn to the Adult Care Home Advisory Committee
Robert Cannon to the Bicycle Advisory Committee
William B. Hawkins to the Board of Equalization and Review
James Barnett and Andrew C. Sliwinski to the Board of Motor Vehicle Review; Shirley Floyd as Chairman
Will Caulder to the Building Development Commission
Sue Peck to the Central Piedmont Community College Board of Trustees
Donna Jenkins Dawson, Donna North, Katherine K. Satchwill and Marcus Scurry to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Community Relations Committee
Robert S. Zuckerman to the Citizen's Transit Advisory Group
Edwin Sullivan to the Groundwater Advisory Committee
Peggy Byrne to the Nursing Home Community Advisory Committee
Kevin Geddings to the Planning Commission
Hattie Leeper to the Public Broadcasting Authority

FY2005 * 2006 BUDGET. The Board approved a $1.23 billion dollar budget for next year, requiring $877.9 million in local tax dollars. The Board has allocated 90 percent of these local funds to its top three priority levels.  Funding these services requires a property tax rate of 83.68 cents per $100 of valuation, 8.01 cents more than the current rate of 75.67 cents.  This is a 10.6 percent increase in the property tax rate. Owners of property with a tax value of $175,000 will pay $140 more on their annual County tax bill, which will total $1,464.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will receive $287.8 million to supplement state funding for operations.  This is a $26.3 million increase from the County's current funding. The Board also will provide CMS with $3.6 million to continue funding the High School Challenge, an initiative targeting three of the lowest performing high schools.  CMS also will receive $88 million to pay for new and renovated schools, an $11.9 million increase. This level of funding increases the County's cost per CMS student from $2,098 to $3,076 for both operating and capital. The Board also increased funding for Central Piedmont Community College by $4.5 million, with $2.6 million of this increase going to operating costs and $1.9 million more for debt service.

The Board also is allocating $22.2 million to create a pay-as-you-go reserve fund.  This is a new strategy to control the County's debt costs.  The "Paygo" fund will pay for the construction and renovation of some County facilities without borrowing money, thereby eliminating millions of dollars in interest costs.  In FY2006, the County's total debt service accounts for $173.5 million in County costs, an increase of $25.2 million from last year.

PUBLIC HEARING ON MWSBE. The Board approved a plan to implement a revised approach to ensuring equitable opportunity for women-owned and minority-owned business to do business with Mecklenburg County.  The revision to the existing MWBE Program creates the Minority, Women, Small Business Enterprise Program that incorporates various recommendations from a disparity study conducted last year.  As part of this plan, the Board is creating two new positions to handle the enhanced level of services that would occur. It also is establishing goals for contracting with women- and minority-owned business in proportion to the availability of qualified vendors. No new funding is required to pay for these positions.

ANIMAL CONTROL ORDINANCE. The Board approved a revised animal control ordinance. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is responsible for enforcing the County's animal control ordinance. CMPD revised the County's ordinance to strengthen its terms and make it consistent with the City of Charlotte's ordinance. The effective date of the new ordinance is August 1.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. The Board approved two economic development proposals.  First, the Board approved a business investment grant of $79,500 to Pulte Mortgage Company over five years.  Pulte will invest between $2 * $3.5 million and crease 245 new jobs over three years, with the potential for 70-100 more jobs in years 4 and 5.  This is expected to generate $280,531 in additional tax revenue for the County over these five years. Secondly, the Board approved a development agreement between the County, City of Charlotte and the developers of the Midtown Square property.  The City and County agree to provide the developers investment grants not to exceed 90% of the new property taxes generated by the development.  The development will include new retail and office space and will allow the development by the County of the portion of Little Sugar Creek Greenway that now runs under the property's parking lot. The total estimated ten-year investment by the city and county will not exceed the net present value of approximately $12.3 million.

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