Revaluation and Revenue
Pearson’s Appraisal Service gave the Board an update on where the company is with its review of neighborhoods where major and minor issues exist as a result of the 2011 county-wide property revaluation. Pearson’s was hired after numerous complaints about over-stated property values and a confusing appeal process. The BOCC adopted an action plan in November of 2012 to correct problems with the 2011 revaluation and lay the groundwork for more successful reappraisals in the future.
The fallout from the revaluation may have a significant impact on County revenues for at least fiscal years 2013 and 2014. Finance Director Dena Dorio reported to the Board that the loss of tax revenue due to lost appeals is greater than expected and the County will be $4.8 million short of estimates. Additionally, changes to assessed values in neighborhoods where major and minor issues were found by Pearson’s, means tax revenue estimates for FY14 may be $25 million less than expected. Plus, if refunds are to be paid to those overcharged, it could cost between $10 and $22 million. County Manager Harry Jones told the Board that he is instructing County departments to submit FY14 department operating budgets with two percent and five percent reductions from current levels to cover the $20-$40 million revenue loss. Jones also told the Board he was going to meet with representatives from the County towns on March 20 to alert them about the potential loss of property tax revenue.
Park and Recreation Ordinance
The Board was scheduled to hear a second reading and then adopt a revised Park and Recreation Ordinance that includes new language to restrict where concealed carry handguns can be possessed. Generally the restriction would include areas where children play or gather for athletic activities and at certain park facilities. Commissioner Ridenhour moved and the Board agreed to delay adoption on the ordinance until the Board’s April 2 meeting to allow for more in-depth discussion. Read the revised ordinance here.
The Board heard an update from Phil Endress, Director of MeckLINK Behavioral Healthcare (formerly Area Mental Health) about progress being made to bring its operation up to full speed. The Board took action to recognize and appropriate $68.5 million in Medicare Funds and to transfer $18.2 million dollars in County, State and Federal funds to the MeckLINK account to establish MeckLINK as a distinct line of business and to adhere to state reporting requirements. Mecklenburg County applied for and received a Medicaid waiver from the State, assuming full control for mental and behavior health services administered in Mecklenburg County.
Capital Improvement Program
The Board adopted five Capital Project Ordinances for a total of $138 million as follows:
- Park and Recreation - $10,965,000 for three parks
- Park and Recreation - $65,020,000 for 30 park projects
- Land - $6,600,000 – Future County and Community College projects
- School Facilities - $45,321,000 for six school building and renovations projects
- Sheriff - $5,230,000 for expansion and improvement of current facilities
Funding comes from a combination of pay-as-you-go funds and the sale of bonds.
Watch video of the March 19 meeting here. Next regular Board meeting is April 2.