The Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) adopted a budget for Fiscal Year 2014-2015 at its regular meeting tonight.
The $1.53 billion budget maintains the current tax rate of 81.57 cents.
Earlier this year, the BOCC adopted a strategic agenda to guide activities over the next 18 months. The FY15 Budget addresses the four strategic agenda themes:
Economic DevelopmentThe FY15 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 OrganizationExemplary customer service comes from high-performing employees. To recruit and retain high performing employees, the FY15 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 PlanningThe FY15 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. Other funding adjustments include additional funding for adoption assistance and foster care services and a 60-bed expansion at the Salvation Army.The Board also decided to provide $390,000 for a one-time fund balance appropriation for CW Williams. Funding is contingent on following strict financial and reorganizational guidelines.
Cost of Living and Quality of LifeThough 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 FY15 Budget restores funding to many Park & Recreation programs including maintenance positions and deferred maintenance at parks and playgrounds. The public library system will also 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 FY15 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. Funding for Central Piedmont Community College will also increase; the FY15 budget includes an increase of 7.2 percent including one-time funding. Fifty percent of the County budget funds education and literacy.