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County Budget Cut by $17.4 million
County Manager Harry L. Jones, Sr., directed Mecklenburg County department and agency budgets cut by $17.4 million, effective immediately.

Mecklenburg County Agencies Are Cut by $17.4 million

Charlotte, NC -- Mecklenburg County department and agency budgets have been cut by $17.4 million, effective immediately.  County Manager Harry L. Jones, Sr., directed the reductions to address a revenue shortfall in the current budget (FY2009) as a result of the recession.  The cuts also are intended to help prepare for a projected $70 million gap in funding for next year's budget (FY2010). 

The reductions amount to 15% of unspent non-salary accounts within department/agency budgets. As a result, the greatest reductions come from those departments and agencies with the largest budgets, primarily in health and human services.  Department and agency directors have focused cuts on the lowest priorities. As a result, the impact on services and customers is projected to be minimal to moderate in most instances. No County positions are being eliminated due to these reductions.

"Mecklenburg County has been invited to the recession, and we don't have the option of saying no," said Jones.  "Nearly all our revenues sources are well below budget, which means we need to cut expenses. We are trying our best to limit the impact these cuts will have on the people we serve and the community."

Last month, Jones informed the Board of County Commissioners of a projected $57.1 million shortfall between revenues and expenses in the current year's $1.5 billion budget. Although the shortfall could be addressed by appropriating money from the County's fund balance, this approach would exacerbate the challenge the County will face in eliminating the $70 million gap next fiscal year. Instead, Jones implemented several steps to reduce expenses in the current budget.

In addition to the $17.4 million reductions, Jones also has enacted a hiring freeze on County vacant positions for the remainder of the fiscal year.  The County also has eliminated $9.9 million in prior year encumbrances, resulting in additional cost avoidance.  Jones also has requested Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) and Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) to accept reductions in current year funding from the County.  In total, Jones has set a goal of reducing the shortfall to approximately $30 million or less, with the remaining gap covered by fund balance appropriation.  As a result, Jones said more reductions may be needed in the current year particularly if revenues fall further.

"We will continue to look for ways to cut expenses, while at the same time hoping we see some positive impact on revenues from the federal stimulus package," said Jones. 

In preparation for the FY2010 budget, Jones has directed County departments and agencies to develop scenarios that include up to 20% reductions in funding from the current year.  He also has requested CMS, CPCC and WTVI to consider 10% reductions in current year funding. 

"For the current year, we are reacting to the conditions placed upon us that are largely out of our control, said Jones. "However, as we prepare for next year's budget, we intend to be proactive in identifying the choices and consequences of various funding scenarios based on the Board's priorities."

Attached is a summary of the reductions by department/agency and potential service impact descriptions.
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Media contact: Danny Diehl at 704.336.2084 (O) or 704.572.1035 or Daniel.diehl@MecklenburgCountyNC.gov




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