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Manager's Recommended Budget Lowers Tax Rate, Increases Education Spending, Manages Debt and Invests in Employees
In his $1.38 billion recommended budget for FY2012, County Manager Harry Jones lowers the property tax rate, increases education spending, restores employee pay raises and creates a debt service fund to better manage and pay the County’s debt.

The recommendation is $39.3 million or 2.9 percent more than the current year’s adopted budget. The $1.38 billion funding level recommended for FY12 is consistent with the funding level in the County’s adopted budget in FY09.

Jones said a tax rate of 82.49 cents for every $100 of property valued – which is 1.38 cents less than the current tax rate of 83.87 cents – is needed to support his budget. The rate Jones proposes is 3.66 cents higher than the revenue-neutral tax rate of 78.83 cents.

“At the recommended property tax rate, approximately 57.3 percent of residential property owners will experience a tax bill increase, while about 42.7 percent will pay less in taxes,” Jones said in his prepared remarks to the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners. “This distribution of the tax responsibility is due, in large part, to the shifting of tax assessment values from revaluation.” 

Jones said he built his budget for Fiscal Year 2011-2012 using the Board’s priorities, feedback from residents and the critical success factors the Board identified for achieving its community goals in the wake of the Great Recession. These key drivers of the budget recommendation are:

  • Additional funds for education and education support to increase high school graduation rates and develop the workforce
  • Fiscal Discipline to establish a debt service fund; addressing long-term liabilities, specifically Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB); and stewardship of public facilities, technology infrastructure and other public assets.
  • Operational Excellence by re-investing in employees and enhancing fiscal compliance
  • And, sustaining the public library system
Education funding for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Central Piedmont Community College and other education support services receives a majority of the new revenue generated. For example, 65 percent of the new funding would go to CMS for its operating budget and debt costs. The increase in operating funds for CMS is for help with student population growth, sustaining operations and keeping 260 teachers in the classroom. Also, as an option for additional education funding, Jones said the Board can consider a referendum asking voters to support an additional ¼-cent sales tax.

His budget includes $42 million in recommended cuts to be re-invested to fund the key drivers, Jones said. One example is the manager’s recommendation on the indigent care subsidy the County pays to two area hospitals.

He recommends the County eliminate 100 percent of the subsidy the County pays to Carolinas HealthCare System (CHS) and Presbyterian Novant Health Care System for indigent care. Jones says eliminating this subsidy will not reduce access to care or quality of care available to indigent patients in Mecklenburg County.

Jones also recommends the County phase out its subsidy paid to CHS for operating inpatient mental health care at CMC Randolph/Behavioral Health Center.  The FY12 budget recommends paying the FY11 subsidy amount in FY12, with the phase out occurring over the subsequent three years. Jones proposes a Blue Ribbon Committee to develop the transition plan.

A public hearing on the manager’s recommended budget is set for 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 19, in the Meeting Chamber of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center. The BOCC is expected to adopt a FY2012 budget at its regular meeting on June 7, 2011.

For more details and budget information visit the County’s website.

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