CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Mecklenburg County leaders have spent the past few months asking citizens what matters most to them, from affordable housing and the environment to education.
County commissioners are now those priorities and laying them all out on the table during their annual retreat, which began Wednesday.
County leaders focused on their response if a crisis happens during the Republican National Convention in August.
They said they have been developing a crisis management plan for awhile, but the county manager said she wanted to get it in front of leaders before the RNC.
This plan is not specific to the RNC. It covers everything from cyberattacks to protests and natural disasters.
The county worked with two consultants to develop the plan and the focus is on communication.
Depending on the severity of the crisis, the county's response to it would be escalated.
Many commissioners see their role as amplifying the county's message and delegating to staff.
Leaders are preparing for all situations and said they are glad to receive risk-management training ahead of this major event that will bring tens of thousands of people to the city
“We want to make sure what the board knows, what our approach is going to be, and how they are going to manage risk through the event, and how to respond to it if we need to,” County Manager Dena Diorio said.
There may be a funding component through the budget process to beef up security systems and other related areas that could be a target.
“Given the fact we had this training today, it kind of helps put us in the right mindset of what to anticipate and how to respond to it,” County Chairman George Dunlap said.
Last fiscal year, the county budget was $1.9 billion.
Earlier this month, the county launched an online survey asking people to rank their spending priorities for things like criminal justice, economic development, education and environment.
More than 2,300 people completed the survey.
The top two issues they asked the county to address were Meck Pre-K and the arts.
During the county retreat, commissioners are also expected to talk about the level of violence in the city. Last fall, leaders labeled the situation a public health crisis.
Mecklenburg County Health Director Gibbie Harris told Channel 9 she wants to bring in activist groups to help stop the violence. She said they’re also working to prevent suspects from reoffending and partnering with Atrium Health to help gun violence victims.
Viewing violence as a public health crisis is also on the minds of city leaders. Charlotte has been using data to help target four areas in the Queen City that see the most violent crime.
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