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City of Charlotte Budget & Evaluation
 

FY2015 Adopted City Budget Overview
● Stable and Practical ●
● Consistent with Council Policy ●
● Represents a Strong Value to Tax and Rate Payers ●
 
The City of Charlotte’s FY2015 operating budget  along with the FY2015-FY2019 Community Investment Plan was approved by City Council on June 9, 2014.  The budget sustains essential services in public safety, the environment, transportation, and neighborhood and business services.  Highlights include:   
 
·         Homeowner costs are kept low:
o    Property tax rate unchanged at 46.87¢ per $100 valuation
o    Residential fees increase a $1.97 per month for a typical user of water & sewer and storm water services, which equates to a 1.6% total tax and fee impact
·         The total FY2015 Citywide budget (combined operating and capital budgets) totals $2.1 billion, an increase of 6.5% from FY2014, due primarily to the Community Investment Plan to meet the infrastructure needs of our growing community
o    Operating (General and Enterprise funds)  is $1.24 billion, a 4.5% increase
o    Capital (General and Enterprise funds) is $852.9 million, a 9.4% increase   
·         The previously adopted $816.4 million General Community Investment Plan focuses on improving livability, job growth, and getting around the City
o    First of four bond referenda is scheduled for November 2014:  $146 million for transportation, neighborhoods, and housing diversity
 
The following table reflects the FY2015 Recommended City tax and fee impact for a home valued at the 50th percentile ($151,300) of values for owner-occupied single-family homes in Charlotte.
 
City of Charlotte taxes & fees
50th percentile home value
Prior Year
FY2014
Adopted
FY2015
$
Change
%
Change
Property taxes on $151,300 home
$709.14
$709.14
$0.00
0.0%
Solid Waste fee (Residential)
$47.00
$47.00
$0.00
0.0%
Water & Sewer (Average user rate)
$662.04
$682.80
$20.76
3.1%
Storm Water (Average user rate)
$94.68
$97.56
$2.88
3.0%
Total Annual
$1,512.86
$1,536.50
$23.64
1.6%
  Total Monthly
$126.07
$128.04
$1.97
1.6%
 
Strategic Operating Plan and Support Documents
 
The City of Charlotte’s Strategic Operating Plan is a major policy document that communicates the City Council’s priorities, annual operating budget, and the five-year Community Investment Plan.  Components of the FY2015 Preliminary Strategic Operating Plan are highlighted below.  For additional information, the following documents are also available on the City’s website:
 
Operating Budget – Budgeting efficiently to maintain core services upon which residents can depend
 
General Fund
The General Fund is primarily funded by property tax revenue to provide core services such as police, fire, solid waste services, transportation, planning, and housing and neighborhood development.  Highlights of the adopted FY2015 General Fund operating budget include:
·      Addresses essential requirements to meet service demands that are driven by growth, inflation, and the City’s ongoing commitments. 
·      Totals $584.1 million, which represents growth of 3.7% above FY2014. 
 
Enterprise Funds
Unlike the General Fund, the Enterprise Funds – Aviation, Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS), Charlotte Mecklenburg Utility (water and sewer), and Storm Water –are not funded by general taxes, but by customer or residential service user fees.  The exception is Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS), for which a portion is funded by a dedicated sales tax.  The combined Enterprise Funds’ operating budgets increase 5.9%, focusing on core customer service needs and reflecting the cost of doing business.  The Enterprise Funds’ highlights include: 
·         Aviation
o    Focus on aligning resources to reflect the necessary 24-hour-a-day operations and business management needs for the country’s 6th largest airport (by operations) serving the world’s largest air carrier
o    Airport will remain the lowest cost hub airport in the nation
·         CATS
o    Base fare increase of 20¢ to support increases costs and expanded services
o    Blue Line Extension construction fully underway
o    CityLYNX Gold Line Phase I operations to begin Spring of 2015  
·         Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utility
o    $1.73 monthly increase for typical customer (3.1%) to invest in infrastructure, maintain existing system, and respond to changing economic and regulatory conditions   
·         Storm Water Services
o    24¢ monthly increase for typical customer (3.0%) to fund repairs and improvements to storm drainage infrastructure
 
Compensation
The adopted budget also includes adjustments as follows:
·         Public safety employees would receive a 1.5% market increase plus a “step” increase of 2.5% or 5%, depending on position and years of experience
·         A 3% merit pool for general employees 
 
Community Investment Plan – Investing in our future

The City continues to maintain its AAA credit rating reflecting the positive outlook for the City’s long-term financial stability.  The adopted FY2015-FY2019 Community Investment Plan for General and Enterprise funds totals $4.1 billion, a 22.4% increase over the current five-year capital program.  This increase is primarily due to growth in the Aviation, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utility, and Storm Water Enterprise capital programs. 
 
General Community Investment Plan
The General Community Investment Plan continues the plan adopted by Council last year, and focuses on:
·      Livability
·      Getting around
·      Job growth
 
Enterprise Funds
The Enterprise funded Community Investment Plan (CATS, Aviation, Storm Water, and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utility) consists of projects such as the LYNX Blue Line Extension, Terminal expansion and rehabilitation at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport, continuation of Storm Water’s flood control projects and stream restoration projects, and maintaining and expanding water and sewer infrastructure.
 
Budget Adjustments – City Council adopted the following changes to the City Manager’s Recommended Budget:
·      Out of School Time Partners (after school programs) – Restored funding for Above & Beyond Students at their FY2014 level and provided funding for YWCA at their FY2013 level for a total additional amount of $175,261;
·      Charlotte Regional Partnership – Increased operating funding by $16,974; and
·      Historic District Commission – Added a Principal Planner position and associated operating costs to support preservation of Historic Districts in the amount of $88,322.