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2006 News from Mecklenburg County


June 6, 2006    

Budget Adoption Cuts Taxes and Increases Funding For CMS, Health and Safety Services

Charlotte, NC – Mecklenburg County residents will pay less in County property taxes this year and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will receive an increase in funding of $24.8 million. This is the result of the Board of County Commissioners approving a budget for FY2007.

The $1.33 billion budget requires a countywide property tax rate of 81.89 cents per $100 of property valuation, a 1.79-cents decrease from this year's rate. The tax rate decrease means the owner of a home with a tax value of $200,000 will see a savings of $35.80 on next year's tax bill. This does not include property taxes levied by the City of Charlotte or the towns or the Law Enforcement Service District tax in the unincorporated areas.

Education Services: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will receive $312.6 million to supplement state funding for operations. This is a $24.8 million increase from the County's current funding and will increase operational per pupil funding from $2,354 to $2,466. The Board also will provide CMS with $4.9 million to continue funding the High School Challenge, an initiative targeting three of the lowest performing high schools. The County also will pay $129.3 million for CMS-related debt for new and renovated schools, with total CMS debt service increasing by $19.5 million next year. That includes sales tax revenues and $9 million Mecklenburg County expects to receive from the N.C. education lottery which brings the County funded share to $89.2 million. Additional lottery proceeds will be placed in a CMS "Pay As You Go" capital account for future construction needs. This level of funding increases the County's total cost per CMS student from $3,095 to $3,244.

The Board also increased funding for Central Piedmont Community College by $4.1 million, with $3.1 million of this increase going to operating costs and $1.1 million more for debt service. Education costs now will comprise 48.4 percent of the County's local tax funding.

Pay As You Go: The Board also allocated $13.2 million to the pay-as-you-go reserve fund established last year. The "Paygo" fund will pay for the construction and renovation of some County facilities without borrowing money, thereby eliminating substantial interest costs.

County Services: The budget also provides additional funding to pay for increased costs of maintaining existing County services such as Medicaid and fueling vehicles, to fund health care cost increases, and to provide merit increases for County employees. Other County services that will receive additional funding in the FY2007 budget include:
• $6.4 million for FY2006 and FY2007 employee pay for performance merit increases
• $4.8 million for the annualized costs of market pay adjustments
• $4.7 million for Medicaid cost increases
• $2.7 million for medical and dental plan cost increases
• $1.8 million for workers compensation and risk insurance
• $1.8 million for increased public assistance
• $1.8 million for behavior health center contract increases
• $1.3 million for the rising price of gasoline for County and Medic
• $1.2 million for the public health contract with Carolinas Health System
• $1.2 million for the annualized cost of 401-K/457 1% match increase

Service Enhancements: The budget also includes $17.3 million, a 1.9 percent increase, in funding for additional resources and services. This additional funding targets high-growth, high-volume services that have a direct impact on and direct contact with Mecklenburg residents, as follows:
• $3.1 million for enhanced facility stewardship through the capital reserve and other operating funds
• $2.6 million for the operations of the new courthouse
• $2.1 million for indigent care funding
• $1.6 million for new Park and Recreation facilities operational in FY2007
• $1.2 million increase for 20 additional school nurses to reduce the student-to-nurse ratio from 1700:1 to 1380:1.
• $1.2 million for child protection legal services and other legal costs

Funding Priorities: The budget allocates 89.2% of County funds to the Board's top three priority levels, with 66.2% going to the top priority services. Of the $1.33 billion budget, about $930.4 million is County funding – primarily from property and sales taxes. The remainder is generated through charges for services, fees, transit sales tax and other sources.

Law Enforcement Service District: Residents in unincorporated Mecklenburg County will pay a tax rate of 16.47 cents for police service, a decrease of 1.21 cents. This will be added to the 81.89 cents for a total tax rate of 98.36 cents per $100 valuation for the district. Municipal residents pay their cost of police services as part of their city or town property taxes.

For more details on the approved budget, visit the Web site www.mecklenburgcountync.gov and click on "FY2007 County Budget."



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