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FY2015 Recommended City Budget Overview
 
● Stable and Practical ●
● Consistent with Council Policy ●
● Represents a Strong Value to Tax and Rate Payers ●
 
City Manager Ron Carlee presented the recommended FY2015 operating budget along with the FY2015-FY2019 Community Investment Plan (CIP) to City Council on May 5, 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 (combined operating and capital budgets) total $2.1 billion, an increase of 6.5% from FY2014, due primarily to the Community Investment Plan to keep Charlotte growing
o    Operating (General and Enterprise funds)  is $1.25 billion, a 4.6% 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
 
Preliminary 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 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 recommended 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 if 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 proposed 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% (up to top step)
  ·         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 from   the perspective of the bond rating agencies.  The recommended 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, International Terminal expansion at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, continuation of Storm Water’s flood control projects and stream restoration projects, and maintaining and expanding water and sewer infrastructure.
 
Remaining Budget Process Schedule
  • May 12, 2014 - Budget Public Hearing, 7:00 p.m.
  • May 14, 2014 – Budget Adjustments, 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • May 28, 2014 – Straw Votes, 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
  • June 9, 2014 – Budget Adoption, 7:00 p.m.
Residents may speak at the Public Hearing on May 12th.  To sign up, call (704) 336-2248 or email CityClerk@charlottenc.gov. 

All meetings occur in the Charlotte Mecklenburg Government Center, 600 E 4th Street, Charlotte, NC 28202.  The budget discussions can be view on the Gov Channel, Cable 16 (Digital 97-2) or online at http://govchannel.charmeck.org.