Mecklenburg County leaders continue budget discussions at retreat

Mecklenburg County leaders continue budget discussions at retreat

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Mecklenburg County commissioners are meeting in Elizabeth Friday for the final day of their annual budget retreat where they’ll continue to discuss issues facing the county.

While much of the county's business happens at the Government Center, the county's goals and big projects are set at an annual retreat which this year is at CPCC’s campus in west Charlotte.

On Friday, commissioners talked about a possible tax increase to pay for universal prekindergarten. The county manager estimated that a fully-funded pre-K will require a property tax increase of $0.06, or around an extra $10 a month per household.

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Commissioners said that's how much is needed to improve the area's economic mobility status.

"Whether we birth them or not, we need to take care of them," Commissioner Vilma Leake said.

Commissioners could also explore a sales tax increase or bond referendum.

Another topic county leaders plan to address Friday is the Health Department.

Last year, the department admitted it didn't notify 185 women about abnormal pap smear results, then it accidentally sent confidential patient information to Channel 9

The Health Department hired a new director and created a new executive team to prevent future issues.

On Thursday, day one of the retreat, the first topic addressed by commissioners was next year's property revaluation. Commissioners received an update from the county assessor.

Every eight years, the county has to appraise homes and make sure they are properly valued. For homeowners, that could mean next year’s property tax bill might soar.

There is a lot of pressure on the county to get the revaluation right because the last time it happened, in 2011, it was a disaster, with many people losing their jobs and homes that were inaccurately appraised.

Past revaluation stories:

The county has already checked out 808 neighborhoods -- that's 50 percent of Mecklenburg County -- with the rest to be completed by October.

Leaders are actively reviewing property records and canvassing neighborhoods. There is also a new grading system in place that allows for adjustments based on construction details.

“It will help with consistency, it will help keep things the same, it will help neighborhoods,” said County Assessor Ken Joyner.

In 2011, the median sales price for a home in Mecklenburg County was $193,000 and it now stands at $262,000 – a 36 percent increase.

Revenue from the revaluation will be available to the county in 2020.

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