June 18, 2002
MECKLENBURG COUNTY’S FINAL BUDGET
CUTS SERVICES TO MAINTAIN TAX RATE
Charlotte, NC—The Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners approved a $1.066 billion annual budget that cuts many services to maintain the tax rate at 83.97 cents per $100 valuation (as well as maintain the same Law Enforcement Service District tax rate of 14.5 cents per $100 valuation for properties within the unincorporated areas).
The FY2002-2003 (FY03) budget includes $24.7 million “escrowed” in restricted contingency pending a decision by the State on reimbursements funding for local governments. If the State does not provide the $24.7 million in state reimbursements, the items to be funded from restricted contingency will not be funded and the associated services will not be provided.
The Mecklenburg County budget funds programs and services that are provided directly by the County as well as those provided by outside agencies such as Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS), Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC), and numerous non-profit human services agencies. County services include parks, libraries, jails, public health, mental health, social services, environmental services, land use regulation, and more.
CMS will receive $265 million for current expenses which is $2 million more than CMS received from the County when the FY02 was amended to accommodate reduced state funding this year. CPCC will receive $16 million, approximately $1.4 million more than it received in the FY02 amended budget
The FY03 budget includes $8.29 million in cuts to County services, including the elimination of more than 300 mostly vacant positions. While there are numerous reductions, there are a few areas where funding increases. Funding for the Sheriff’s Office will increase $2.3 million to pay for the staff and other expenses to operate the recently opened Jail-Central Expansion. This increase includes 43 new full-time positions in the Sheriff’s Office. Also, the Public Library would realize a net increase of 40 full-time and 13 temporary positions, while experiencing a decrease of 19 part-time positions. This net increase is the result of new facilities slated to open this fiscal year.
The Board also is funding a new position in the County Manager’s Office to focus on homeland security. This position will ensure proper planning and structure to address homeland preparedness throughout the county and regionally.
The total budget is $1.066 billion, a 3.6% increase from the current budget (FY02 Amended Budget). This budget will require $740 million in net County revenues (primarily property taxes), $33 million more than the current budget, a 4.8% increase. The remaining will come from federal and state funds, fees and other sources.
While the current tax rate will generate more in property tax revenue, several mandated expenses also will increase. Debt service, the cost of repaying bonds to buy land and build schools, parks, libraries and other government facilities, will increase $12.5 million, or 8.5%, to $159.8 million. Approximately $117 million of that total is paid for by property taxes. When $31.5 million in mandated social services spending including Medicaid is added, there is $591.4 million available to fund all County Services and Education Services. Approximately $303.7 million will be used to fund all County Services, while $287.7 million will fund Education Services (CMS and CPCC), if the County does not receive state reimbursements funding.
Without state reimbursements, the County will continue its current hiring freeze for all vacant positions for the entire fiscal year. To mitigate rising costs for health care premiums to be paid by County employees, the Board approved a pay increase of 3% for each County employee. The FY03 budget without state reimbursements funds 5008 full-time, 96 part-time and 600 temporary positions.