County tax bills will increase for majority of homeowners
by Staff Writer
CHARLOTTE – With little change from their straw-vote decision last week, the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners voted to adopt a $1.38 billion budget Tuesday night, June 7, that gives more to education and libraries, creates a fund to better manage debt and provides for employee merit raises.
Commissioners adopted the budget for the 2011-12 fiscal year at their regular meeting at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center. The spending plan decreases the tax rate almost 2 cents, though tax bills for a majority of property owners will increase because of revaluation of property countywide. The tax rate is 81.66 cents per $100 of taxable value.
Commissioner Karen Bentley, who represents north Mecklenburg, said 79 percent of Huntersville residents, 76 percent of Cornelius residents and 82 percent of Davidson homeowners will see an increase in their tax bills from this budget.
The adopted budget includes several recommendations from County Manager Harry Jones, including:
• An additional $26 million for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools above the current year’s allocation.
• An additional $3 million for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg library system. That additional money, more even than requested by a citizen task force earlier this year, will allow all library branches to remain open and enable all regional branches, including the north county location in Huntersville, to expand hours.
• An additional $2 million for the Park and Recreation Department, which, like the library system, sustained drastic budget cuts during the past two years.
Commissioners also voted to cut $2 million in funding to the Department of Social Services.
The county will stop providing area hospitals with a subsidies for taking care of indigent patients. Jones’ office has said hospitals are in better financial shape now and can afford to shoulder those costs.
To restore funding for schools and libraries, Jones had recommended dropping the tax rate only 1.38 cents – to 82.49 cents per $100 of assessed value.
County commissioners went farther than Jones, taking the rate down 2.21 cents, to 81.66 cents. That translates to a county tax bill of $2,041.50 on a home assessed at $250,000.