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County Votes to Terminate Contract for CMPD to Service Unincorporated Areas

(April 20, 2017) At its meeting on Monday, April 17, the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners voted to terminate their contract with the City of Charlotte to provide police services to the unincorporated areas of Mecklenburg County. See the video of the meeting HERE. Click on "17-3873 Law Enforcement Service District and Fire Protection Service Districts Udpdate" in the list under the video to jump to the discussion.

The primary concern came from the Town of Huntersville. The Huntersville mayor, police chief, and town council members spoke to the Commission about how they believe the Huntersville Police Department could provide better service and response times than the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department within their extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ).

On the map to the right, the orange area is the Huntersville ETJ. The red area is the Charlotte ETJ, and includes the unincorporated areas of Steele Creek. The City of Charlotte provides planning and zoning services within the red area.

The unincorporated areas of Mecklenburg County comprise the Law Enforcement Service District.  Property owners pay a supplemental police tax to fund police services by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. The Town of Huntersville would like to receive the supplemental police tax funds from their ETJ and provide police services there. They claim the City of Charlotte and CMPD have been unresponsive to their requests.

The tax rate for the supplemental police tax is determined by the proportion the population of the Law Enforcement Service District is of the total CMPD service area. The county commissioners discussed whether the funds collected are going towards servicing the service area or are going towards other services within the city. They believe the funds exceed the service provided since the crime rate is less in the unincorporated areas.

The county must give a 14 month notice to terminate the contract. Since funding extends through the end of the fiscal year on June 30, 2018, notice must be made in April 2017. In order to terminate the contract for Huntersville, the county must terminate the contract for the entire Law Enforcement Service Area, including Steele Creek. This is the action that the County Commission took.

The commissioners discussed possible legislation that would require Charlotte and the towns within Mecklenburg County to provide police services within their ETJs. They also discussed the possibility that the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office might provide services where the city or towns did not. But these are just speculative possibilities.

The result is that effective July 1, 2018, the unincorporated areas of Steele Creek will not have law enforcement services unless either Mecklenburg County and the City of Charlotte can come to an agreement for CMPD to provide these services or the Sheriff's Office takes over the service.

On the map below, the pink areas are within the City of Charlotte and receive city services. The area in white is unincorporated and currently receives police services by CMPD. Action by the County Commission leaves this area in limbo unless another arrangement can be worked out by July 2018.

Steele Creek Map

The Steele Creek Division office is located at the intersection of Westinghouse Boulevard and South Tryon Street. Similar to how the Huntersville Police Department believes it can provide services to their ETJ from Huntersville better than CMPD can provide them from the North Division office, Steele Creek Division of CMPD can provide services to the unincorporated areas of Steele Creek better than the Sheriff's Office can from central Charlotte.

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