CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Mecklenburg County has recommended a $2.3 billion fiscal operating budget for 2024, a 7% hike from 2023, county officials announced on Thursday.

The increase is exactly $156.2 million from last year.

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“To fund the critical services provided every day by Mecklenburg County and invest for the future, the County Manager recommends a tax rate of 47.31 cents per $100 of assessed valuation,” County Commissioner Dena Diorio said in a written release on Thursday.

The biggest bulk comes in at $144 million investment in what the board describes as its top priorities with early childhood development and housing insecurity being among them.

$68.7 million will be invested in county employees, which equates to 44% of the total budget increase. The spending includes $3.9 million for contracted security, weapons, and screenings.

The recommendation comes as the county launches a $4 billion Capital Improvement Plan next year. That spending includes $2.5 billion for 30 projects for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

More public hearings are expected to be held and a final vote is expected on June 6th.