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July 17, 2009

Managing the FY2010 Budget


To address declining revenues, the N.C. General Assembly is considering several alternatives for generating additional revenue. The House has proposed increasing tax rates, while the Senate has proposed a more sweeping change that would restructure local tax collections, as well as increase state revenue.


Among the Senate proposals is the elimination of the Business Privilege License. The State of North Carolina gave cities and towns the authority to levy the tax in 1862. The purpose of this tax was to provide a source of revenue for towns to expand infrastructure to meet the demands of population growth. Other than the property tax, the Business Privilege License tax is the only tax that is enacted and enforced by cities and towns. The City of Charlotte is projecting that it would lose $17.5 million annually from the loss of the Business Privilege tax. This particular proposal would not impact Mecklenburg or any other county, since it is a dedicated revenue source for cities and towns.


However, the General Assembly is considering several other tax changes that would impact the County's revenue, if adopted. This includes changes to the sales tax base and changes to the sales tax allocation between state and local government and the elimination of the local share of beer and wine taxes.


County staff continues to monitor developments in the State budget. As the State gets closer to finalizing a budget, we will analyze the potential impact it may have on the County. We will update the Board as needed based on developments.


 

Employee Transition Services Update


Board members will recall from the March 13 Board Bulletin that the Human Resources Department staff created Employee Transition Services (ETS) to assist employees impacted by a Reduction in Force (RIF). ETS provides a benefits package review, job skills counseling, résumé writing and other career counseling services to employees whose position was eliminated in the FY 2010 budget.


Since ETS was created, the service has provided assistance to 80 employees. So far, we have placed 20 employees in other positions within the County. Over the next 12 months, we will remain in contact with those who have not yet secured other jobs, either within the County or elsewhere. We will communicate job openings within the County and, when possible, provide them with priority placement in positions for which they qualify.


A survey completed by employees using ETS revealed that 96 percent believe the ETS assistance provided the guidance they were seeking, were pleased with the quality of work, and believed the services offered by ETS were valuable. Recognizing that job loss and job transition are challenging, we are pleased that ETS has been this helpful to these affected employees.


For more information, please contact Human Resources Director Chris Peek at 704-336-3138 or email.


 

Park Incidents on the Decline


Park and Recreation Department Director Jim Garges recently reported a decrease in the number of incidents in our parks. The third quarter, which falls during the winter months, is typically when patrons utilize the parks with less frequency and incidents decrease. However, our fourth quarter incident reports, which represent the beginning of peak park usage, were lower than the third quarter.


This noticeable decrease is being attributed to a reorganization of the Park Watch operations, more training of Park Watch staff and other Park and Recreation staff, as well as increased visibility and presence of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD). Although this represents only a short-term view, we hope these changes represent a positive long-term trend that has just begun. We will continue to track incidents and report notable changes to the Board.



Ethics Training for Local Officials


On August 27, 2009 from 11a.m. to 4 p.m., the Local Elected Leaders Academy is offering a one-day workshop on ethics for local officials. This training is a pre-conference seminar offered in conjunction with the 2009 annual conference of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) to be held in Catawba County. The conference and the workshop will be held at the Hickory Metro Convention Center in Hickory, NC. The conference will be held August 27 – 30.


This ethics session will provide an overview of public officials' responsibilities under federal and state law. Norma Houston, an expert in the state's ethics law and a faculty member at the School of Government, will lead the session, which will include practical advice and solutions to guide local decision-making.


The Local Elected Leaders Academy is a partnership with the School of Government, NC League of Municipalities, and NCACC. The Academy is designed to help municipal and county elected officials gain the knowledge and skills they need to lead and govern their communities. Elected officials will earn credit toward recognition through the Local Elected Leaders Academy.


For more information or to register for this workshop, please visit the NCACC website at www.ncacc.org/annualconf/2009registration.pdf.


 

CALENDAR REMINDER


Tuesday, August 4
  • 12 noon Human Services Strategic Planning Meeting, Rm 267, CMGC
  • 3pm, Criminal Justice Committee Meeting, 11th Floor Large Conference Room, CMGC
  • 3pm, Natural Resources Committee Meeting, Rm 280, CMGC
  • 5pm, Dinner Meeting, CH14
  • 6pm, Regular Meeting, Chamber

 

- Harry L. Jones, Sr., County Manager


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