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January 16, 2009
2009 NACo Legislative Conference
The 2009 National Association of Counties (NACo) Legislative Conference will be held March 7-11 at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC. Board members interested in attending and who need staff assistance with registration and/or accommodations should contact Tonette Spears, Deputy Clerk as soon as possible because rooms fill up quickly. Tonette may be reached at 704-336-2664.
The NACo Legislative Conference is designed to identify and discuss legislative needs of counties. The Conference includes presentations by national leaders, updates on potential and pending legislation, and forums on legislative priorities affecting county government and county residents. It also provides an opportunity for elected and appointed official to network and exchange information in a national forum.
Strategic Planning Conference Update
The Board’s Strategic Planning Conference (SPC) will be Thursday, January 29 and Friday, January 30. An overview of the agenda is as follows:
Thursday, January 29
  • Manager’s Introduction
  • Budget Primer
  • FY2009 Financial Status and FY2010 Preliminary Financial Outlook
  • Board Members’ Key Interests
Friday, January 30
  • Issue Ranking Group Exercise
  • Wrap-up & Feedback
Board members are reminded that their key issues ranking assignment is due to Hyong Yi, Management & Budget Director, by Friday, January 23.
Board members will receive an agenda notebook by Friday, January 23. Board members who need of additional information about the SPC or the assignment should contact Hyong Yi, 704-336-6945  
Bonds, COPs Earn Top Credit Ratings
In preparation for the upcoming certificates of participation (COPs) sale, the rating agencies have affirmed the County’s AA+ rating (highest rating for COPs). In addition, Fitch and Standard & Poor’s have reaffirmed the AAA rating on bonds. Moody’s will release the rating on the bonds closer to the issue date, although the AAA rating was affirmed. Board members will receive the complete ratings reports once we have received these from the rating agencies. This topic will be discussed as part of the Strategic Planning Conference agenda.

United Family Services to Announce Campaign Cabinet
In 2008, United Family Services (UFS) initiated a capital campaign to raise funds to build the new 80-bed shelter. The campaign will be co-chaired by local business woman Crandall Bowles and Board of County Commissioners Chairman Jennifer Roberts. Other cabinet members will be announced in late January.
In 2007, UFS released its Domestic Violence Feasibility Study, which highlighted the critical need for increased domestic violence shelter beds in Mecklenburg County. The study found that the existing 29-bed shelter could no longer keep pace with the growing demand for services. Increasing the shelter capacity in our community is critical to reducing the number of people in search of emergency shelter. Domestic violence is a primary cause of homelessness for women and children.
Mecklenburg County’s shelter only has 3.5 domestic violence shelter beds for every 100,000 people. This is meager in comparison to cities similar in size. In Minneapolis, the city provides 17 beds for every 100,000 people. And in Austin and Indianapolis, both cities provide 11 to 12 beds for every 100,000 people.
Currently UFS uses County funding to house domestic violence victims and their children in hotels when the shelter is full; on average, 38 women and children per month are housed in hotels. We anticipate needing to continue this service until the new facility opens.
The UFS Building Committee estimates total funding needs of $10 million, to be raised through a combination of campaign proceeds and grants. UFS is currently applying to the City of Charlotte’s Housing Trust Fund and the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency for grants to support the new facility. UFS staff has been working with the Capital Campaign Planning Board, a community campaign board separate from UFS. The Capital Campaign Planning Board is responsible for approving the implementation of Charlotte-Mecklenburg community capital campaigns. USF staff expects to receive its official approval in early 2009. The silent phase of the capital campaign will begin shortly thereafter. UFS will announce the campaign in November, as part of activities celebrating its 100-year anniversary throughout 2009.
The UFS Building Committee also is working with the Charlotte Rescue Mission to finalize land purchase plans and begin work on schematic designs. Groundbreaking for the new facility is anticipated for late spring 2010 and completion in spring 2011.

Mark Your Calendar
County offices will be closed this Monday, January 19 in observance of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.
- Harry L. Jones, Sr., County Manager

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