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July 11, 2008
General Assembly Approves State Budget
After two weeks of negotiations between the House and Senate, the General Assembly approved final adjustments to the FY2009 state budget this Wednesday. The total General Fund budget spends $21.4 billion, a 3.4 percent increase over the prior year.
A few highlights include a 3 percent, on average, pay increase for teachers, additional state aid for local health departments, and significant resources added to the state mental health hospitals. Education Lottery revenues are allocated in a way that provides Mecklenburg County the same projected revenues as last year.
In the area of Justice and Public Safety, the FY2009 budget allocates the following additional court-related positions for Mecklenburg County:
  • 1 assistant district attorney
  • 1 district court judge
  • 4 magistrates 
These positions will be provided in addition to the 34.5 new positions (27 of which are Deputy Clerk of Court positions) the State already funded for FY09 when it adopted the biennial budget in the 2007 long session. The State budget also restores and slightly increases funding for the Juvenile Crime Prevention Councils (JCPC) and Criminal Justice Partnership Program (CJPP). The plan also repeals the requirement that counties assume funding responsibility for courthouse telephones this year, and instead creates a dedicated state source of revenue for that expense.
These items are only a few highlights. The Governor is still reviewing the budget and has 10 days to sign or veto it.
General Assembly members are still working on non-budget related business. It is expected that they will adjourn by the end of next week. After the short session is complete, we will provide you with a comprehensive update on all legislation with potential county impacts. For more information, please contact Deborah Goldberg at 704-336-2611 or email.
Funding Goal Achieved for Feasibility Study
I’m pleased to let you know that we have reached the goal of raising $150,000 to fund a feasibility study on establishing an arts & technology center in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. The National Center for Arts & Technology (NCAT) will conduct this feasibility study over the next 12-18 months to determine our community’s need for and our capacity to create and sustain a center that replicates the programs of the Manchester Bidwell Corporation (MBC).
You will recall that the non-profit MBC provides school-day and after-school arts education to motivate youth to graduate from high school and encourage them to continue their education. The MCG also provides literacy and remedial education, and partners with corporations to design and provide high-caliber, market-relevant career training programs that lead to full-time employment.
Although we have many successful initiatives addressing education and workforce development, we still have too many children who don’t graduate from high school and too many adults without the skills to have self-sufficient careers.
This feasibility study is made possible by donations from:
  • The Knight Foundation
  • Foundation for the Carolinas
  • Advantage Carolina
  • Carolinas HealthCare System
  • Arts & Science Council
  • Goodrich Corporation
  • Wachovia
  • Duke Energy
  • Castle & Cooke
  • Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge & Rice
  • Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson
  • Mecklenburg County
  • Keith Corporation
  • Individual donors
This support across numerous sectors is a testament to the strong interest within our community to help children graduate from high school and to enhance opportunities for adults to obtain and maintain employment.
In the coming weeks, we will be working with the NCAT and other community partners to organize the initial steps in the feasibility study. We will update the Board on this process as details are finalized.

Mark Your Calendar
July 11-15, 2008
- NACo Legislative Conference, Kansas City, MO
Tuesday, August 5
- Dinner Meeting, 5 p.m., CH-14
- Regular Meeting, 6 p.m., Meeting Chamber
- Harry L. Jones, Sr., County Manager

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