County Manager Dena R. Diorio presented her Fiscal Year 2015 Recommended Budget to the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners today. The $1.53 billion budget maintains the current tax rate of 81.57 cents.
“I am committed to a balanced, affordable spending plan that supports children and families and allows for economic growth,” said Diorio. “The key is to make decisions that are sustainable so that we can continue to offer the same level of service year after year.”
The portion of the budget that is funded through reoccurring County revenues, which includes property tax, increased 5 percent over the last fiscal year.
“The County’s economic outlook is very strong,” said Diorio. “By maintaining the current tax rate, we have the opportunity to fund services that were reduced during the recession and support those areas that have increased demand for services. We want to be mindful stewards of taxpayer dollars while serving the children and families of Mecklenburg County.”
Earlier this year, the Board of County Commissioners adopted a strategic agenda to guide activities over the next 18 months. The FY15 Recommended Budget addresses the four strategic agenda themes:
The Recommended Budget includes increased resources to support ongoing business investment grants and economic development agreements. It also increases funding for three amateur sporting events – including the Belk Bowl and CIAA Championship – that generate $92.2 million in economic impact each year.
High Performing Organization
Exemplary customer service comes from high-performing employees. To recruit and retain high performing employees, the Recommended Budget includes pay-for-performance merit increases. Additional funding is recommended for the Internal Audit Department to manage risk and improve internal controls and regulatory and financial compliance.
Human Services Strategic Planning
The Recommended Budget includes funding to place a dedicated nurse in every Charlotte-Mecklenburg (CMS) public school. Additionally, the County Manager recommends increased and enhanced funding for social services to help adults and families with immediate critical needs but also transitional needs to move from dependency to self-sufficiency.
Cost of Living and Quality of Life
Though residents commonly cite quality of life as a County priority, the services in this category are discretionary and too often reduced during difficult economic times. The Recommended Budget, if adopted, would restore funding to many Park & Recreation programs including maintenance positions and deferred maintenance at parks and playgrounds. The public library system is also slated to receive funding for additional operating hours, increased library collection, and implementation of a digital strategy to move the system into the digital age.
Funding for education, including County funded debt service, totals $535.7 million. The Recommended Budget includes an increase to the CMS operating budget of $26.8 million (a 7.4-percent increase) and one-time funding of more than $5 million to be used for either deferred maintenance or technology acquisition.
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