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Top News Stories in 2011
As 2011 ends, here is a look back at some of the year’s events, stories and decisions in Mecklenburg County Government. Items are not ranked and the list is not all-inclusive. However, the video, photo and article links below do help show and tell what happened this year, and some items provide a preview for what is to come in 2012.

A Redesigned and Reshaped County Government
In his FY2011 budget message, the County Manager said to help combat the economic impact of the Great Recession, Mecklenburg must pursue a strategic path to redesign and reshape County government to be effective and best fit the reality of the “new normal.” Staff changes and consolidation of services in 2011 helped to move the County forward. Examples include the appointment of an Associate General Manager; creating the Office of Management and Budget; creating the Business Support Services Agency; creating the Human Services Finance Division and creating the County’s Compliance Program and Enterprise Risk Management

 Vision 2020
Creation of a  Vision for 2020: Community & Corporate Scorecard
Mecklenburg County’s Community & Corporate Scorecard defines overall goals for the community and describes the tactics needed to reach them. From November 2010 to January 2011, County Manager’s Office staff gathered input from residents and employees on priorities for the community and organization over the next 10 years. Combined with input from the Board, seven themes emerged as Critical Success Factors:
  • Affordability
  • Sustainability 
  • Jobs/Workforce & Economic Development 
  • High School Graduation & Literacy 
  • Service Investments & Delivery Model 
  • Fiscal Discipline 
  • Operational Excellence
The Critical Success Factors, along with the Board’s priorities and the County’s core functions were used in developing the revised Community & Corporate Scorecard.

A Shift for  Public Health
On July 12, 2011, the Board voted unanimously to authorize the County Manager to end the County’s contract with Carolinas HealthCare System (CHS) no later than June 30, 2013. One aspect of this contract involves CHS providing approximately 75 percent of the Health Department services. Although no firm plans have been established, a collaborative planning process has begun for the transition of public health services from CHS to County operations. Read more at this Health Department Web page. 

2011 marked the first countywide reappraisal of real property in Mecklenburg County since January 2003. The value of 355,000 properties was estimated for the 2011 reappraisal, the largest revaluation effort in State history. The total value of all real property grew from $82.5 billion in 2010 to $93.2 billion in 2011. Only two-thirds of the properties increased in value as a result of the reappraisal. This is the first time such a large number of parcels remained unchanged or decreased in value. 

Creation of Debt Service Fund 
When the Board adopted the $1.38 billion budget in June for Fiscal Year 2012, it included the creation of a Debt Service Fund. This dedicated funding source is for the County’s principal and interest payments on debt, including debt service for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and Central Piedmont Community College. The approach to funding capital projects (such as government buildings, schools and libraries) and managing debt has changed. Before, the County approved projects first then borrowed funds. Now the County is determining the available revenues for debt service first, borrowing up to that limit, and then identifying which projects will be authorized based on available funds in its Debt Service Fund. Here’s a link to the FY2012 Budget Book.

A New Approach to Cost-Savings
The County’s strategic sourcing partnership with Deloitte Consulting came about as a result of the March 2010 Financial Management Services Assessment (FMSA) conducted by staff. The FMSA recommendations approved by the County Manager included engaging a consulting firm to help streamline and consolidate specific financial management business processes to improve fiscal controls and reduce costs. The partnership with Deloitte focused on changes in procurement and contract management. The contracts are in the categories of facilities maintenance, temporary labor and social services transportation. Read more at the County’s Change Initiatives update.

Joint-Capital Master Planning and IBM
Mecklenburg County and its municipalities have agreed to consolidate capital planning efforts as the first step in implementing recommendations from IBM’s Smarter Cities Challenge. IBM executives spent more than a month in Charlotte during 2010, studying how the County conducts Capital Master Planning and making recommendations on how to improve the process. County municipalities agreeing to plan together was the first step. A Quality of Life Study is also being added to the process to help operationally focus on what infrastructure should be included in particular capital projects. Additional resources are at this website.  

 Romare Bearden

Romare Bearden's Legacy Celebrated with Groundbreaking of new Uptown Park
Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation, in partnership with the Arts and Science Council, Charlotte Center City Partners and Partners for Parks, held a groundbreaking ceremony for Romare Bearden Park, uptown Charlotte’s newest park, on Sept. 2, 2011. The groundbreaking ceremony, which would have marked the 100th birthday of the famous artist, offered unique experiences through an array of cultural activities ranging, from a musical performance from a local jazz band to an exhibit of youth art inspired by Romare Bearden. A Romare Bearden commemorative stamp display was also featured. Watch the video.

Child Support Enforcement Becomes a County Department
Child Support Enforcement became Mecklenburg County’s newest department in 2011. The agency which was under state control, provides services that help determine the establishment of paternity, support, and collection of support. During the Nov. 1 Board of County Commissioners meeting, the department presented a summary of their accomplishments during the transitional process and what they would like to achieve in the coming year.

IKEA Grant Helps Furnish CSE MAIN OFFICE
In early 2011, Mecklenburg County applied for an IKEA Community Grant to assist the Child Support Enforcement Department (CSE) in providing a child-friendly environment at the CSE office location. IKEA approved the grant request made by Public Information staff on behalf of CSE. County staff used the grant to select furniture at IKEA. The items were set up in CSE. The total value of the donated goods was nearly $1,000, and representatives of IKEA have pledged to re-stock areas as needed in the coming years and to keep the newly-created children’s play areas fresh and updated. Watch the Video

 Charlotte Mecklenburg Library
The Restructuring of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Library
The Future of the Library Task Force, which was created to formulate a recommendation on how to keep the Charlotte-Mecklenburg public Library sustainable, concluded in March 2011 and delivered a report to the BOCC. The recommendations included the establishment of a Main Library Committee to access the feasibility of consolidating, downsizing or relocating the functions of the Main Library to ImaginOn or other sites in uptown.

Keeping Mecklenburg Beautiful
Since single stream recycling was introduced in Mecklenburg County over a year ago and the County began accepting a wider range of recyclable materials, recycling overall has increased 20 percent. Recycling Center locationsWatch the video.

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