FY10 County Operating Budget
The Board adopted an operating budget for fiscal year 2009-2010 that totals $1.42B which is about 94% of the current year budget. The budget does not call for a tax increase. It maintains the tax rate on real estate at 83.87 cents per hundred dollars of assessed value. The budget includes $317.3M for Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools.
LUESA Fees Changed
The Board approved a change in the fee structure for Zoning Permits, change of use permits and fees for signs and billboards. The same resolution creates a new Land Development fee that will pay for zoning services. The recent downturn in the economy and associated lack of land development activity reduced revenue to perform zoning services. The new fees will make zoning services 100% fee funded.
Storm Water Fees
The Board approved creation of a four-tier fee structure for minor and major storm water systems. The County Manager had recommended that the County increase the two-tier system to four tiers in order to charge property owners with large properties their fair share. Two related resolutions had the board approving an increase in storm water fees recently adopted by the City of Charlotte and the Town of Davidson.
DSS Director Mary Wilson and Finance Director Dena Diorio presented to the Board the results of an outside audit of specific programs and financial systems in the Department of Social Services. The review was requested by DSS Director Mary Wilson in March 2009 after some staff expressed concerns about financial management of the Giving Tree Program.
The program provides gifts to children in foster care Also under investigation was the DSS voucher program which provides emergency food and clothing assistance for foster children and adults going on job interviews. The outside audit firm found a number of inconsistencies in the way DSS accounts for some of its money and voucher accounts and the County Manager has taken steps to correct the department's financial systems. Additionally, two DSS staff members associated with the Giving Tree Program were suspended with pay, pending further investigation. One remains on paid administrative leave. The other is on extended family leave. The County has provided information to the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department and County Attorney to determine if additional steps are appropriate.
The Board approved a motion to refund or refinance up to $295M in general obligation bonds. The County has an opportunity to switch some of these bonds from a variable to a fixed rate, which will lesson the County's exposure to fluctuations in the bond market. The sale date for these bonds is tentatively set for September 3, 2009.
The Board approved another resolution that calls for refunding $275M in Certificates of Participation to also take advantage of a fixed rate of interest.
The Board also approved a resolution to sell $100m in general obligation bonds that will be used to fund purchase of land and construction of new schools. Voters have already given their approval for these purchases and projects. The Board decided that in this economic climate, they would hold the amount of the bond sale to $100m.