CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — The Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners adopted its budget for Fiscal Year 2024 Tuesday that will be a 7 percent increase over the current year.  

The FY24 operating budget totals $2.36 billion with a property tax rate of 47.31 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. For the past four fiscal years — 2020-23 — the tax rate was maintained at 61.69 cents. Following this year’s property revaluation, the revenue-neutral tax rate, which would generate the same revenue as last year, was 45.71 cents. 

Commissioners Elaine Powell (District 1) and Pat Cotham (at-large) dissented in the passage.

Here are some highlights:

Capital Improvement Plan 

As part of the budget process, the board approved a new $4 billion five-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). The county is implementing a rolling CIP, where the County will evaluate the plan each year and adjust to account for changes in construction costs and revenue estimates. The 2024-2028 Capital Improvement Plan includes: 

  • $2.5 billion for up to 30 projects for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. The board took the first step in the process of placing the referendum on the ballot on November 7, 2023.  
  • $809 million for 10 county projects, including upgrades for court and detention facilities, and a commitment to additional Community Resource Centers. 
  • $448 million for 37 Park and Recreation projects, including greenways, a new park at Eastland Yards, improvements for older facilities, lake-dredging projects and new amenities such as skate parks and pickleball courts. 
  • $146 million for eight Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library projects, which includes relocation and expansion of the Sugar Creek and West Boulevard branches, a new branch on Nations Ford Road, renovation of ImaginOn and continued progress on the Main Library in Uptown Charlotte. 
  • $107 million for four Central Piedmont Community College projects, including a new public safety training facility. 

The county, like many other municipalities across the region, is increasing its investment in its employees. The $68.7 million mark represents 44 percent of the total budget increase. This includes:  

  • $33.1 million for county employees, which includes a $29.7 million investment in employees for a 3 percent across-the-board salary increase for all full-time and part-time employees, performance-based pay increases averaging 2.5 percent, $1.1 million for additional part-time staff at park facilities and $1 million to increase public health nurse pay.  
  • $30.6 million for school employees including certified and non-certified staff.  
  • $3.6 million for EMTs, paramedics and other Medic staff.  
  • $862,000 for county-funded employees at CPCC 
  • $500,000 for court officials to provide flexibility to offer competitive salaries to current and new staff.  

Medic is landing more funding for equipment. The $6.7 million is slated for equipment including vehicles, technology replacements and “auto-loading” stretchers, which the county says have been shown to reduce staff injuries during transport by 90 percent. 

There is $25 million to help with property tax assistance. There is $14 million as part of the Helping Out Mecklenburg Homeowners with Economic Support, or HOMES, program for qualifying homeowners. This year’s revaluation increased those values for many.

The county would commit $8.5 million, along with $4.2 million from the City of Charlotte, with operating costs of $1.3 million shared by county and city. 

The county is increasing its investment in local arts programs. The budget includes $3.5 million for the Arts and Science Council, an increase of $1.4 million over last year.  

The newly adopted budget includes the historic utilization of funds from the American Rescue Plan Act. In January Mecklenburg County committed $99 million in ARPA funding for 75 programs and initiatives. That totals more than $208 million when combined with $109 million in new funding recommended for the board’s priorities.