June 5, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
COUNTY BUDGET ADDRESSES SCHOOL FUNDING AND OTHER KEY POLICY QUESTIONS; INCREASES TAX RATE BY 1.98¢
Charlotte, NC – The Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners has approved an operating budget that provides Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools with an increase in operational funding of $25.2 million, allocates $26 million for construction and renovation of County facilities, and adds $10 million to fund the County's long-term liability for retiree benefits.
The $1.45 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2008 requires a countywide property tax rate of 83.87 cents per $100 of property valuation, a 1.98 cent increase from this year's rate. The tax rate increase means the owner of a home with a tax value of $200,000 will see an increase of $39.60 on next year's tax bill.
This amount does not include property taxes levied by the City of Charlotte or the towns. It also does not include the Law Enforcement Service District tax in the unincorporated areas. Residents in unincorporated Mecklenburg County will pay a tax rate of 17.62 cents for police service, an increase of 1.15 cents. Municipal residents pay their cost of police services as part of their city or town property taxes.
Key policy items addressed in the budget:
Education: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will receive $337.4 million to supplement state funding for operations, a $25.2 million increase from the County's current funding that raises the County's total cost per CMS student from $2,451 to $2,543. The Board also increased operations funding for Central Piedmont Community College by $1.7 million over this year, allocating a total of $24.9 million for CPCC operating costs. The adopted budget also includes $88.5 million for CMS debt service and $15.1 million for CPCC debt service.
Pay As You Go: The Board allocated $26 million to the pay-as-you-go reserve fund established two years ago, an increase of $12.8 million. The "Paygo" fund will pay for the construction and renovation of some County facilities without borrowing money, thereby eliminating substantial interest costs.
Retiree Benefits: The Board fully funded the Other Post-Employment Benefits Annual Required Contribution at $10 million. New accounting rules require the County to report its liability related to future retiree benefits, and unfunded liabilities that continue to grow could put pressure on the County's credit rating.
County Services: The budget also provides additional funding to pay for increased costs of maintaining existing County services such as Medicaid, health services, fuel for vehicles, 26 additional school nurse positions, the operating costs of new parks, and merit increases for County employees:
• Medicaid $5.6 million
• General Debt Service 5.3 million
• Overtime for Sheriff's Office 3.0 million
• Capital Reserve 2.6 million
• Mental Health Contract with Carolinas Healthcare System 1.9 million
• Annualized Cost for Parks Opened in FY 2007 1.9 million
• Operating Funds for New Parks to Open in FY 2008 1.9 million
• School Nurses 1.6 million
• MEDIC 1.5 million
• Retiree Medical Insurance 1.3 million
• Public Health Contract with Carolinas Healthcare System 1.2 million
• New Outside Agency Funding 1.2 million
• Business Investment Grant 1.2 million
• Annualized Cost for Positions Authorized in FY 2007 1.0 million
• Contractual Increases 919,000
• Utilities Costs 860,000
• Claims Settlements 700,000
• Indigent Care Increase 693,000
• Jail Diversion (Restricted Contingency) 500,000
• Emission Reduction 500,000
• Park and Recreation Paygo 500,000
Cost Reductions: The FY2008 budget also identified over $15 million in cost reductions. These include a reduction in funding for the high school challenge, savings by eliminating vacant positions, decommissioning a mainframe computer and reductions temporary salary funding.
The 2015 Vision for Mecklenburg County: These spending decisions are consistent with the County's effort to achieve the 2015 Vision set forth by the Board of County Commissioners. The budget focuses spending on the Board's three-year strategic emphasis, intended to lead to the 25 desired results in the Community and Corporate Scorecard. The Scorecard is a tool used by Mecklenburg County to measure its progress towards the 2015 vision.