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Tuesday, July 12, 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, July 12, 2005. The meeting was televised live on The Government Channel, cable channel 16 and rebroadcast on WTVI at Midnight. The meeting is scheduled for re-telecast at various times on the Government Channel and GOV-TV, digital cable channel 232.

PROCLAMATIONS AND AWARDS.  The Board of County Commissioners proclaimed July 12 as Fire Ant Awareness Day and July 24 - 30 as National Hospitality House Week.

PUBLIC APPEARANCE: Constance Johnson spoke on City Political Magazine and engaging more citizens in politics.

APPOINTMENTS. The Board made the following appointments:

  • Jelese J. Lowe to the Adult Care Home Advisory Committee
  • Buford Lovett to the Building Development Commission
  • Richard Mattson and Gary Newman to the Historic Landmarks Commission
  • Marilyn O'Connor to the Nursing Home Community Advisory Committee
  • Eumelia Bautista, Jerome Byrnes, Pat Martinez and LaShonda Sparks to the Personnel Commission
  • Dawn Blobaum to the Public Art Commission

EMPLOYEE BENEFITS PLAN.  The Board approved changes to the County's employee benefits plan.  The plan funding, approved by the Board as part of adopting the FY2006 budget, will increase the County and employee costs of health premiums by 12 percent.  The new plan will result in the County changing medical insurance providers from United Health Care to Cigna as a result of a competitive bidding process. Changing to Cigna will save the County and employees over $2 million in the next year with anticipated future savings over the course of the three-year agreement with Cigna.  While employee premiums will increase, employees are expected to pay less for their share of the health care costs due to the better discounts negotiated by Cigna with health care providers.  The benefits plan also includes changes in the employee dental plan to cover the increased use of dental care by employees.  The total cost for medical benefits in 2006 is projected to be $35 million, while the cost for dental coverage is projected to be $2.5 million. Staff will report back to the Board in 30 - 60 days regarding strategies to sufficiently fund insurance reserves that have been depleted in recent years.  The Board also approved a comprehensive Wellness Plan to be offered by Cardium Health.

CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM. To meet the deadline to file the County's bond application with the Local Government Commission, the Board established the maximum amounts for November 2005 bond referenda: $46.5 million for Central Piedmont Community College; $14 million for law enforcement facilities; $120 million for land; and $427.3 million for school buildings. The Board will consider setting the final amounts of the referenda in August.

PUBLIC ART PROGRAM. The Board approved the Arts & Science Council Public Art Program for the current fiscal year and authorized the County Manager to negotiate and execute a contract for the administration of the program. The Public Art Program for FY2006 would use up to $786,000, which is one percent of public building project funding for FY2006, for public art.  This includes $250,000 for art at greenways, $440,000 for art at sports complexes, athletic fields and other parks, and $96,000 for art at other public buildings.

BUSINESS INVESTMENT GRANT CHANGES. The Board approved changes to the Charlotte/Mecklenburg Business Investment Grant Program.  Changes include certification that business relocation or expansion is contingent on receiving local incentives, as well as a provision that would reduce the required number of jobs manufacturers would need to guarantee if their total investment if at least $3 million.

SUPPORT FOR ARTS AND CULTURAL FACILITIES FUNDING. The Board approved a resolution instructing the County Manager to negotiate with the City of Charlotte, Wachovia Corporation and its affiliates regarding County funding of a portion of an arts and cultural facilities project proposed by Wachovia.  The project includes a new museum, a relocated Mint Museum of Craft and Design, and a 1,200-seat theater at the South Tryon Street site to be developed by Wachovia. The resolution also refers the matter of whether the County should participate to the Economic Development Committee for consideration.

CAROLINA THEATER REDEVELOPMENT.  The Board directed the County Manager to work with the City of Charlotte and a private developer to explore the feasibility of the County participating in funding for the redevelopment of the Carolina Theater site.

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