Additional eGov Features for Board Meetings
Several Board members inquired about technology to enhance information management for Board meetings. This includes requests for access to electronic agendas and electronic voting at the dias.
County staff has been working with City of Charlotte staff in evaluating additional modules offered by Granicus, the vendor providing streaming video/webcasts of the Board meeting. According to Granicus, the current streaming video service can be extended to include features such as minute annotations and electronic vote counts. Implementation would require hardware additions and changes in the Government Center Meeting Chamber (such as touch screens at the dais). As a result, County and City staff members are exploring costs for various options. The Board will be updated as progress is made.
Senior Tax Exemption
One of the items discussed at the Board's strategic planning conference is North Carolina's homestead exclusion. The homestead exclusion, commonly referred to as the "Elderly Exemption" is defined in statue as a benefit for low income individuals. It is not only for the benefit of persons 65 years and older who have low income, but it is also for persons of any legal age who are totally and permanently disabled and who meet the income requirements. The income threshold is calculated each year and for 2007 it is $20,500. Mecklenburg County residents interested in this program must meet the application deadline of June 1, 2007. Residents completing the application must include all necessary documentation, including retirement income and Social Security. Residents who received the exemption last year do not need to reapply.
The Tax Office annually advertises the listing period during December. Additional advertisements are scheduled through the spring and the filing deadline. Recently, the County's Public Service & Information Department (PS&I) issued a news release, which received coverage in the Charlotte Observer/Charlotte.com and elsewhere. The Tax Assessor's Office is also working with PS&I to promote this program via County social services, libraries, park and recreation facilities, and other areas frequented by individuals likely to be eligible for this exemption.
Information about the exemption also is posted online at www.charmeck.org listed under the Tax Assessment site as " Individual Personal Property Questions & Answers
." Residents calling 311 may also obtain information about the exemption requirements and benefits. Tax Assessment staff also is available to speak to interested civic organizations and other groups to explain the exemption. For more information, contact Tax Assessor Garrett Alexander at (704) 336-2976.
Sale of COPs
On Thursday, February 8, the County issued $123,135,000 variable rate Certificates of Participation (COPs). The COPs were issued in a daily variable rate reset mode, with the initial rate set at 3.55%. According to our underwriter, Wachovia Securities, this pricing, on the average, will be five to eight basis points below the weekly reset rate. This is the first time the County has used the daily reset mode.
With this pricing, the County is estimated to save at least $1 million over the life of the issue versus a weekly reset mode. Also, the savings are expected to be much greater compared to fixed rate bonds.
Planning Conference Follow Up
In next week's Board Bulletin the Board will receive a summary of the follow up activities from the strategic planning conference held on February 2. This will include a summary of key issues raised by the Board and steps County staff will undertake as a result. It also will include a summary of the Board's strategic emphasis over the next three years.
Mark Your Calendar
Tuesday, February 13:
Tuesday, February 20:
Community Health & Safety Committee Meeting, 3 p.m., CH-14
Dinner Meeting, 5 p.m., CH-14
Regular Meeting, 6 p.m., Meeting Chamber
--Harry L. Jones, Sr., County Manager