February 25, 2011
On February 7, 2011 the Mecklenburg County Tax Assessor’s Office mailed approximately 280,000 notices of new assessed values to residential property owners in the county as part of the 2011 revaluation process. Prior to this notification, Tax Assessor’s Office staff and Board members held 8 public meetings to inform and educate residents about the revaluation process and the process for filing appeals. In addition, printed materials as well as extensive online information have been developed to maintain a high level of communication throughout the process.
As Tax Assessor Garrett Alexander reported to the Board, once the initial residential notices were sent, Tax Assessor’s staff would be unable to continue meeting personally with groups or individuals about revaluation questions. Instead, staff continues working to finalize and mail additional residential assessments as well as commercial assessments, while also handling informal appeals the Tax Assessor’s Office receives from the initial residential assessments.
Given these resource limitations, Tax Assessor’s Office staff has not been able to attend the requests it has received to meet with neighborhood groups and/or residents personally, since the initial residential notices were mailed. Instead, the County’s Public Service & Information Department staff and the County’s citizen involvement coordinator has communicated with and/or met with residents and neighborhood groups to gather their questions and provide responses, and to refer people to the online information regarding the revaluation and appeals process.
As Board members are aware, the revaluation website http://reval.charmeck.org contains important information about the appeal process, including a video explaining all the steps to appeal, including these key steps and reminders:
- To appeal, there needs to be something significant about the property that the assessor did not take into account that would qualify for a lower value.
- Review the information available at http://reval.charmeck.org before appealing.
- Be patient. Tax Assessor’s Office staff will respond to appeals as quickly as possible. The more appeals, the longer it will take for the response.
- The revaluation does not determine the property taxes that will be levied on the property. The Board of County Commissioners will consider and set the property tax rate in June 2011 for tax bills to be sent in September 2011.
Board members with questions about revaluation should contact Tax Assessor Garrett Alexander at 704-336-2976 or Garrett.Alexande@MecklenburgCountyNC.Gov.
Moody’s Rating Change
During November of last year, Moody’s Investors Service downgraded SunTrust Bank, which is the liquidity provider on Mecklenburg County’s 2008 Certificates of Participation (COP’s). COP’s are tax-exempt government securities used to raise funds to improve and construct buildings or purchase equipment. COP’s are used to finance capital costs related to construction or acquisition and may not be used to finance ongoing operating costs.
Mecklenburg County’s variable rate COPS have a short-term rating and a long term rating. The short-term rating is based on the credit strength of the liquidity provider while the long term rating is based on the credit strength of the County. Due to the down grade of SunTrust Bank, Moody’s has lowered the short-term rating on the COPs from VMIG 1 (denotes best quality) to VMIG2 (denotes high quality). The long term rating on the COPs Aa1 remains unchanged. This rating change is not a reflection on the County but solely reflects the change in financial position of SunTrust Bank. To date, only Moody’s has taken this rating action.
Board members with questions should contact Finance Director Dena Diorio at 704-336-2228 or via email at Dena.Diorio@MecklenburgCountyNC.Gov.
Redistricting Next Steps
During the 2011 Strategic Planning Conference the Board decided to appoint an Advisory Committee to recommend options concerning the redistricting of voting districts in Mecklenburg County. The Redistricting Advisory Committee has been appointed and will meet during the second week in March for its kickoff meeting. Appointments are as follows:
- Aisha Dew- Chairman Roberts
- Lawrence Shaheen -Vice-Chairman Pendergraph
- Antoine Dennard- Commissioner Cogdell
- Bryan Holladay- Commissioner Bentley
- Arthur Griffin- Commissioner Leake
- Robin Bradford- Commissioner Dunlap
- John Autry- Commissioner Clarke
- Lee Teague- Commissioner Cooksey
- Mike Walker- Commissioner James
The Charlotte Mecklenburg Board of Education held its initial discussion about redistricting on February 22. This discussion will continue at its March 8 meeting to include the criteria by which it intends to redistrict. County staff is and will continue to work with CMS staff through the redistricting process in an effort to have co-terminus districts, if the two elected boards have shared priorities.
Board members with questions should contact Assistant to the County Manager Brian Francis at 704-336-2611 or Brian.Francis@MecklenburgCountyNC.Gov.
Get Real 2011
Recently, Crossroads Charlotte and many additional partners announced a citizen involvement initiative called “Get Real 2011”. This is a non‐partisan, non‐profit effort that invites residents to engage in dialogue about the future of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. Mecklenburg County is one of approximately 50 organizations participating with Crossroads Charlotte in Get Real 2011.
At its workshop on March 9, the Board will receive a briefing on Get Real 2011. The Board of Education, Charlotte City Council and Charlotte Mayor also have been invited to attend this workshop for this briefing. Both CMS and the City of Charlotte also are participating organizations.
In addition to providing assistance to Crossroads Charlotte in holding community meetings for Get Real 2011, we have asked Crossroads Charlotte to facilitate four Get Real 2011 meetings with County employees. I have authorized department directors to provide time during the work day for those employees who want to participate. Obviously, department directors will have to balance this with addressing customer service demands or other operational needs.
Four, two-hour Get Real 2011 sessions have been scheduled at County buildings to make participation convenient for employees. The initial session was held on February 23. Remaining Sessions are:
- Friday, February 25 - Valerie Woodard Center
- Tuesday, March 1- Charlotte Mecklenburg Government Center
- Thursday, March 3 - Hal Marshal Center
During the sessions, employees will be asked to imagine a future in Charlotte-Mecklenburg and discuss values and priorities for the community. The results will be included with all the input gathered during the Get Real 2011 initiative that culminates in mid-March. Information gathered during the Get Real 2011 sessions throughout the county, including the four County employee sessions, will be provided to the CMS Board of Education, Charlotte City Council, and Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners.
Board members with questions should contact Citizen Involvement Coordinator Sophia Hollingsworth at Sophia.Hollingsworth@MecklenburgCountyNC.Gov or 704-432-1358.
In addition to participating with Crossroads Charlotte in the Get Real 2011 initiative, County staff is continuing to implement its citizen involvement outreach strategy (MeckConnect). A key component of MeckConnect is educating Mecklenburg residents about how they can obtain information about the County’s goals, services and results, as well as how they can participate in governance and other public policy matters.
Informing and educating residents about these areas is one of the main responsibilities of the County’s Public Service & Information Department (PS&I) staff. Earlier this week, PS&I launched a three-month information outreach effort using social media (e.g., Twitter, Facebook), radio advertising, Internet content and grassroots “street teams” to disseminate information throughout the community. Street teams refer to various activities whereby staff is attending community events and/or visiting neighborhood meetings to provide information and answer questions. The $60,000 cost for this outreach effort, including the radio advertising, comes from cost reductions generated by PS&I staff converting previously printed materials to online content.
To hear the radio advertising and learn more, click the MeckConnect link at www.mecklenburgcountync.gov. Board members with questions also can contact Public Service & Information Department Director Danny Diehl at 704-336-2084 or Daniel.Diehl@MecklenburgCountyNC.Gov.
-- Harry L. Jones, Sr., County Manager