about County Budget Woes at Annual Meeting
2011) At the 2011 meeting of the Steele Creek Residents Association
Mecklenburg County Manager Harry Jones (speaking below) presented a
grim picture of the county's financial situation. Because of the
economic situation, sales tax revenues are down, and the state is
pushing more costs down to the counties. The county has fewer employees
than it had a few years ago and is taking other cost saving measures
such as restructuring departments. The county must continue to find
ways to cut costs and save money.
"It's a false
expectation that we'll return to the status quo of a few years ago,"
Mr. Jones said.
Over the last decade,
the county has spent millions of dollars to construct a new library,
four new schools, and numerous parks and park improvements in Steele
Creek. Funding for these projects has come from the sale of bonds,
but the county will be issuing no new bonds for the next two years,
and several school construction and park projects already approved
by voters will have to wait.
$34M for Capital Projects in Steele Creek is on Hold.)
Commissioners determine how much funding the county will provide to
the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library but does not decide library
closings and other cost savings measures. Those decisions are made
by the Library Board of Trustees. The
Future of the Library Task Force
has been studying how to maintain library services while adapting to
budget realities and will present its recommendation to the Board of
County Commissioners and the Library Board of Trustees at a special
meeting on Monday, March 21.
The Steele Creek
Library is not among the highest priority facilities to remain open
but may be spared because it is the furthest community library from
a regional library and is the busiest community library behind the
Matthews Branch. (See
Summary of Library Locations.)
Mr. Jones will
present his recommended budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1
to the County Commission on May 17, and they are expected to approve
the final budget on June 15. Mr. Jones must show a revenue neutral
budget, but his recommended budget might include a rate increase.
Mr. Jones was asked
if consolidation of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County governments
would save money. He said that most government functions already are either
divided between the two governments or are consolidated.
Studies have shown that the savings would be only about $4 to $5
million a year. Issues regarding what type of governing board would replace
the current City Council and County Commission and the role of the
six towns would have to be resolved.
Commissioner and Steele Creek resident Jim Pendergraph said that he
wanted to hold down taxes, but the county still has to provide services.
District 2 Representative Vilma Leake said that she would not
support a tax increase.
Attorney Bryan Crocker, Chief of our Habitual Felon Prosecution
Unit, also spoke. He said that the
Attorney staff was willing to come to any community meeting
to discuss their
efforts to ensure the citizens of Mecklenburg County are safe.
McCullough of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Department
discussed efforts to develop an updated
Steele Creek Area Plan. This will be a policy document to
guide future land use decisions in Steele Creek. (SeeSteele Creek Area Plan Taking Shape.) Ms. McCullough
brought maps that attendees examined before and after (below)
listening to the speakers.
of over a dozen community organizations and local government
agencies and facilities set up tables with displays and information.
these provided a great opportunity for attendees to interact with
each other and learn more about their community.