Meck Co. Chair gives State of the County address

by: Torie Wells Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - For the first time in four years, the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners Chairman gave a formal update on how the county is doing. Chairman Trevor Fuller gave his State of the County Thursday.

"The State of Mecklenburg County is good and getting stronger every day," he said.

Chairman Fuller said the county is moving forward, putting challenges in the past behind it. He brought up a few of those challenges, like drastic cuts during the recession, revaluation issues and turmoil over county administration changes.

He said that the county has new leadership that is bringing new hope and he is hopeful to give taxpayers good news in the coming year.

"I will be urging my colleagues to adopt a budget for the next fiscal year that will have no increase in the tax rate. In other words, no new taxes," said Fuller.

The Chairman said that the county is on track to meet or exceed its revenue budget. Construction and economic growth mean that more money is coming in and property and sales tax income are ahead of last year.

"Sounds good to me. Any time you don't have to raise taxes I think that's a good thing," said David Watkins, who lives in the county.

Fuller said there is a lot of good news to share, but that there is also more work to do, especially when it comes to fighting poverty. He cited several studies and statistics. One recent study by researchers at Harvard and Cal-Berkeley ranks Charlotte last out of 50 large metro areas in the country when it comes to upward mobility.

"These are startling and frankly embarrassing facts," said Fuller.

He said he wants solutions. That is why he is forming a task force to look at poverty. He told Eyewitness News that he wants the group to look for action that can be taken.

"I don't want this to be something that sits on a shelf somewhere. This is going to be a blueprint for action. That's what I’m looking for," he said.

"It just doesn't seem fair that just because you're born in a certain place you're less likely to succeed," said Annabelle Suddreth, Executive Director of A Child's Place.

Suddreth works with homeless children in Charlotte. She said she is excited the county is taking this action. She hopes the task force tackles the issue she sees every day.

"I've believed for years that in our community we have the knowledge and the ability to solve the poverty issue in our community. What's been lacking is that political will," said Suddreth.