Proposed $1.9B Mecklenburg County budget would maintain current tax rate

CHARLOTTE — Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio presented, virtually, the FY2021 recommended operating budget Friday morning, recommending a $1.9 billion operating budget to county commissioners.

The $1.9-billion recommended budget is an increase of $5.6 million, or 0.3%, over the current Fiscal Year 2020 operating budget. The recommended budget maintains the current tax rate of 61.69 cents and funds over $250 million in investments for critical services for the Public Health Department and the Department of Social Services.

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The budget also doesn’t eliminate any services and no projects will be frozen.

The county would have to dip into reserves, though, to help offer the anticipated loss of revenue due to COVID-19.

Schools, the health department and affordable housing are on the top of many people’s minds because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is getting an extra $25.6 million, and that’s down from the $37 million that was requested. As a result, some staff members will not get as high of raises that school leaders wanted.

One of the departments that is faring the best in this budget is the health department. They are slated for $86 million in funding.

The county is also going to contribute to affordable housing once again: $1 million for Habitat for Humanity and $3 million for rental subsidies.

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The Artis and Science Council also asked for $5 million, but in this budget, ASC will actually get less money than the group got last year, only $900,000.

Diorio said the county is fortunate that it learned from the Great Recession in 2008. Unlike then, the county doesn’t have to eliminate positions or put a halt on priorities.

“The Mecklenburg County government is resilient and because of the Board of County Commissioner’s commitment to the fiscal discipline strategy, we are in a strong position to manage what lies ahead,” Diorio said.

Funding highlights include:

Public Health

Total investment of $86.3 million

  • $104,000 for the Children’s Developmental Services Agency to maintain service levels following a 13% increase in enrollment
  • $80,000 for CDSA interpreter services to accommodate the needs of the non-English speaking families.
  • $150,000 for advanced Tuberculosis testing
  • $43,000 for the Tuberculosis Clinic for supplies and to maintain service levels
  • $160,000 for increased costs associated with LabCorp’s annual contract
  • $60,000 to increase Prep funding
  • $66,000 for one full-time school health nurse

Department of Social Services

Total investment of $165.5 million

  • $258,000 to meet the increase funding for Foster Care placements
  • $86,000 to expand Senior Nutrition Meal Services to support increases to both homebound and congregate meal programs
  • 206,000 to add 70 Wards to private guardianship
  • $350,000 to fund the County’s portion of the Raise the Age Funding Grant Match
  • $886,000 for Youth and Family Services employee retention strategies
  • $250,000 for an efficiency analysis of the Economic Services Division
  • $151,000 to fund the first phase of the new Family Justice Center

Asset and Facility Management

  • $1.6 million for security staffing at major facilities
  • $413,000 for enhanced security at parks
  • $881,000 to fund increases in the County’s facility maintenance contracts

Information Technology

  • $1.7 million in additional funding for hardware and software upgrades and enhancements

County Assessor’s Office

  • $1.1 million for technology security enhancements for the North Carolina Property Tax System and AssessPro Software
  • $1.3 million to fund the Revaluation Reserve

Reducing Racial Disparities

New investment of $2.5 million

  • $1.3 million in funding for the United Way’s “Unite Charlotte” initiative for 25 Tier 1 grants of $25,000 each and 10, Tier 2 grants of $40,000
  • A total of $775,000 to address Food Insecurity in the County including $125,000 to support the initial phase of the Three Sisters Food Market Co-Op, $600,000 for the development of additional initiatives to address food deserts and $50,000 in a Community Service Grant to Loaves & Fishes
  • $150,000 in a Community Service Grant to Young Black Leadership Alliance
  • $50,000 in a Community Service Grant to Prospera North Carolina
  • $77,000 for one full-time Project Compliance Coordinator for the Minority, Women, Small Business Enterprises Program

MECK Pre-K and Early Childhood Education Funding

Total investment of $42 million for Fiscal Year 2021, an increase of $5.5 million for Fiscal Year 2020

  • $20 million to help clear the childcare waitlist
  • $21 million for 80 classrooms, an increase of 20 classrooms, bringing the total number of children served to 1,602

Mental Health Support

New investment of $6.2 million

  • $1.3 million for additional services in our detention centers. Funding will provide an Assistant Nursing Director, Licensed Practical Nurse, a Mental Health Clinician, a Physician, a Psychiatrist, a Psychiatric Registered Nurse and a Recreational Therapist
  • $945,000 for Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools Exceptional Children Staffing and Special Education Support to fund 5 Teachers, 5 Teacher Assts, 4 Itinerant Pre-K Teachers and 2 Occupational Therapists
  • $3.4 million for an additional 15 social workers, 15 counselors, 5 psychiatrists, and 2 behavioral health specialists at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

Affordable Housing

New investment of $ 4 million

  • $1 million to fund the second year of Habitat for Humanity’s Critical Home Repair Program. Funding will support 31 home repair projects in FY2021.
  • $3 million to expand our rental subsidy programs

Park and Greenways

New investment of $5.2 million

  • $2.8 million for 59 part-time and limited part-time positions for the new Eastway Regional Recreation Center, two wheelchair-accessible buses and computers for the computer lab
  • $100,000 for 2 full-time maintenance and operation positions at American Legion Memorial Stadium
  • $37,000 for programming and related expenses for Steven’s Nature Creek and the McDowell Nature Center

Employee Investments

  • $9.2 million for a 3% across the board increase for employees
  • $682,000 to include a 3% merit increase for MEDIC employees
  • $4 million for required pension contributions
  • $1.3 million for increased costs associated with medical and dental insurance

Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office

  • $683,000 for staffing costs, program supplies, equipment maintenance and repairs and metal detector rentals during the Republican National Convention
  • $218,000 to replace a total of 345 bulletproof vests.
  • $54,000 to purchase three patrol narcotic detention canines.
  • $100,000 to provide the supplies needed for Juvenile Programs and Housing.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

Total investment of $523.5 million, an increase of 4% over Fiscal Year 2020

  • $19.4 million to support Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools operating expenses including;
  • Health insurance and retirement rate increases, funding to accommodate charter school and enrollment growth for 1,807 new students, maintenance and operating costs for 1 new school, student support staffing/social and emotional learning support, Exceptional Children staffing and special education support
  • $5 million for building services preventative maintenance staffing
  • $1.3 million in one-time funding for CMS’s Enterprise Resource Planning Systems

Central Piedmont Community College

Total investment of $1.2 million, an increase of 3% over Fiscal Year 2020

  • Salaries for maintenance staff
  • Costs of maintenance and repairs of buildings and grounds
  • Insurance fees for campus buildings, vehicles and
  • Workers’ compensation for institutional employees paid from local funds and other necessary insurance coverages.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Libraries

  • $350,000 to support a Request for Proposal to develop a libraries Facilities Master Plan

Arts & Science Council

  • $900,000 to support three grant programs for the Arts and Science Council

Next Steps:

The BOCC will hold a virtual public hearing to receive input on the FY2021 Recommended Budget on Wednesday, May 13 at 6 p.m.

Following the public hearing, the Board will hold a Straw Vote session on May 26-27, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Details on the straw vote location and how residents may participate in the budget public hearing will be posted soon on

The Board is scheduled to adopt the Fiscal Year 2021 Recommended Budget on Tuesday, June 2. The Fiscal Year 2021 Budget will take effect July 1, 2020.