Meck County manager presents budget plan to commissioners; no tax increase on the table

CHARLOTTE — The Mecklenburg County manager presented a recommended 2023 budget to commissioners Thursday morning.

The proposal is an increase of 6%, or $111 million, more than last year’s budget.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools previously asked the county to approve its $578 million budget for 2023 -- a $40 million increase from last year. On Thursday, instead of a $40 million increase, Mecklenburg County manager Dena Diorio asked for a $19.9 million increase.

Money would go toward things like pay raises for teachers and staff, a new early college high school, and student academic support.

Channel 9 talked to Charlotte residents who supported the idea of teacher pay raises.

“My mom is a teacher so especially I could feel the effects. Teacher pay rate increase? Yeah, because they do a lot of work,” Jalah Scott said. “They’re like a counselor, parent basically, and they are a teacher. I think they deserve higher pay.”

“I know a couple of teachers personally. I know they have a tough job,” Laura Edwards said. “It’d be great to see them paid more.”

>>To read the full recommended budget, click here.

Diorio’s budget recommendation did not include an increase in property taxes, which many believed to be a possibility.

Recently, the city of Charlotte decided not to raise property taxes in its budget, but it did increase pay for its employees due to inflation. On Thursday, the county did something similar for its employees; the budget recommends $16.6 million go to fund a 5% across-the-board raise for all full-time and part-time county employees.

“To counter inflation I think I can understand increasing pay,” Scott said.

“Makes sense to me,” resident Curt Edwards said. “I mean it’s a growing city, want to make sure it’s vibrant and we keep good people.”

Mecklenburg EMS is funded partially by the county. On Thursday, it learned in the recommended budget, employees will receive raises to combat staffing challenges. $3.6 million will go to the agency to address the turnover rate, recruitment, and reliance on overtime. MEDIC would also be awarded $100,000 in additional American Rescue Plan Act funding for EMT recruitment bonuses (this is added to ARPA-funded bonuses already approved in April).

The funding includes implementing a $20 minimum wage for MEDIC staff, including a $20 minimum for EMTs and $25 minimum for paramedics, and ensures all employees receive a minimum 5% pay increase.

The Board of County Commissioners will hold a public hearing to get feedback on the recommended budget. The hearing is scheduled for May 25 at 6 p.m. Anyone who wishes to comment can sign up here, call 980-314-2914 or email clerk@MeckNC.gov.

Following the public hearing, the Board will hold straw vote sessions on June 15 and 16. The Board is scheduled to adopt the budget at its regular meeting on June 22 and it will take effect July 1.

(WATCH BELOW: Charlotte City Council to hear public feedback on $3.2 billion budget proposal)