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Tuesday, December 20, 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, December 20, 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.

AWARDS AND PROCLAMATIONS. The Board of County Commissioners proclaimed December 20 as Holy Angels Day in Mecklenburg County.

APPOINTMENTS. The Board made the following appointments:

  • Randy Perkins as chairman of the Air Quality Commission
  • Robert Bisanar to the Library Board of Trustees

LAND ACQUISITIONS. The Board approved the following land acquisitions:

  • Approximately 42.55 acres on Ramah Church Road from the McAlpine Group for $1,470,000. The property will be utilized for additional park/open space to serve the towns of Cornelius, Davidson and Huntersville.
  • The donation of 2.22 acres on Mallard Creek from the McAlpine Group to the County for greenway purposes.

BUILDING CONSENSUS FOR A CMS CAPITAL PACKAGE. The Board approved a framework for a consensus-building process to build a school capital package that will be supported by the community. The Board directed the County Manager to proceed with developing a design team to form a 35-member stakeholders committee, and appointed former Governor Jim Martin the chairman of the committee. This process is in response to the failed CMS bond referendum in November. The design team will be a nine-member team of Mecklenburg County, City of Charlotte, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and CPCC staff, facilitated by the Lee Institute. The design team will develop a recommended process for a citizen stakeholders committee that would develop the school capital package.  The committee will be appointed by the Board of County Commissioners (9 appointees), Board of Education (9 appointees), Mecklenburg mayors (1 appointee each) and the committee chair (9 appointees). The objective is to have an open, inclusive process that reaches consensus on a school capital package. The deadline for the design team recommendations is February 14.

BASEBALL AND URBAN PARK. The Board received a presentation from Charlotte Center City Partners on new concepts for the location of Third Ward Park, a baseball stadium and Second Ward development. The proposal suggests swapping property among the City of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Mass Mutual and Wachovia to create sites for a baseball stadium in Third Ward, an adjoining urban park, mixed use development in Second Ward, and a site for a new CMS headquarters. The Board authorized the County Manager to work with all parties to develop a comprehensive plan for consideration by the Board.

CULTURAL FACILITIES. The Board received a presentation on the cultural facilities master plan, endorsed the plan's capital costs, and authorized the County Manager to develop a memorandum of understanding with the City of Charlotte and Wachovia consistent with the County's role in the plan. The capital plan costs total $140.5 million that would include a 1200-seat theater, Bechtler Art Museum, Mint Museum and Afro-American Cultural Center located as part of a Wachovia development in the center city of Charlotte. Capital costs that would be covered by the City and County would be $41 million, two-thirds of which would be from the County. Those funds would be provided through a form of tax increment financing * essentially providing a portion of the new tax revenue that would be generated by increased tax value of the property after development.

EMPLOYEE CLASSIFICATION AND COMPENSATION. The Board approved an employee job classification and compensation plan. Following a comprehensive study conducted by Fox Lawson and Associates, the plan is based on the philosophy of paying market salaries for market performance. The study reveals that 69 percent of County employees' salaries are below the average pay in the market for similar jobs. In addition, the study concluded that the County's benefits were competitive with the market. In response, the plan creates a broadband classification structure that reduces the number of job classifications from 650 to 260 and allocates those classifications into 26 job families in five broad pay bands. In addition, the plan would adjust the salaries of those positions below market to be closer to the market.  Cost of the plan for FY06 is $4.4 million, which is the amount the Board allocated in the current budget for this effort. The purpose of the classification and compensation study is to enhance the County's workforce recruitment and retention and to improve employee motivation and satisfaction that impacts overall County performance.

WESTMORELAND ATHLETIC COMPLEX. The Board approved a plan proposed by the Town of Cornelius to develop an athletic complex within the town using County funds. Under the plan, the County will purchase approximately 23 acres for $2 million. The property owners would then provide $1.5 million of these funds for the development of the property as tournament ball fields, to be constructed and managed under the direction of the Town of Cornelius.

TROLLEY BARN. The Board approved allocating one-half of the proceeds of the sale of the trolley barn - $697,445 - to the Historic Landmarks Commission revolving fund, with the remaining $697,445 going to the construction of a permanent interpretive center for designated landmark Trolley Car #85 and Charlotte's streetcar history.

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