County Manager Harry Jones gave the board an update on how the current economic situation is impacting the County's operating budget for both the current and upcoming fiscal year.
To address a funding gap, the County Manager has directed the following spending reduction steps:
- Immediate County hiring freeze
- 15% reduction in non-salary accounts ($21M)
- Requested reductions in County funding from its partners CMS, CPCC, Library, MEDIC and Carolinas Healthcare System ($9M)
The County Manager will review the proposed reductions later this week and anticipates implementing most of these reductions immediately. Those reductions involving policy decisions or that significantly alter the County's course of operations will be brought to the Board for additional input.
The County Manager reported a $70 million preliminary gap between current year funding and projected revenues for FY2010. To address this gap, which is likely to increase as budget estimates are refined, the County Manager has taken the following steps:
- County departments, Library, MEDIC and other agencies will identify reductions of 20% from the current year
- Request to CMS, CPCC and WTVI to share the burden of eliminating the gap by considering a 10% reduction from current year's funding.
County Manager Harry Jones reported that if County departments had to assume the full burden of eliminating the $70 million gap, it would require the County to eliminate 800 to 1,000 jobs and layoff approximately 500 employees. Manager Jones indicated his intention to retain jobs and people when possible, but that many County employees would potentially be put out of work if the County's key business partners, especially Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, do not share the responsibility for eliminating this funding gap.
The Board decided to conduct a review of $1.3 billion in authorized but unissued capital projects on March 11 and April 28. This review will include a report on the debt capacity available under the County's debt policy.
Closed Session Recordings
The Board adopted a policy for the audio recording of its closed session meetings. The recordings will be available to the public as soon as the Board approves minutes of the meeting. The recordings will be retained for two years after they become public unless the Board directs that they be retained longer.