A significant number of Mecklenburg County property owners will see an increase in their tax bill this year under a budget proposal unveiled recently by County Manager Dena Diorio, which would adopt a tax rate almost 2 cents, or 3.3 percent, above revenue-neutral.
With an average property value increase of more than 50% following a countywide revaluation, the tax rate at which the County would collect the same amount of total revenue (known as the ‘revenue-neutral’ rate) is 59.7 cents per $100 of assessed value. The manager’s budget proposes a rate of 61.69 cents per $100, or 1.99 cents above revenue neutral. The impact of the higher rate means more than 65% of all Mecklenburg County homeowners, and more than 71% of all commercial property owners, will see higher tax bills this year.
The manager’s budget totals $1.9 billion dollars, an increase of $158 million or 9.1% over FY 2019. It hikes spending on a number of county services, from the Health Department (up $4.4 million) and Social Services (up $4.7 million) to Affordable Housing, which would see an increase of $15.7 million — with $11.2 million funding a new Rental Subsidy program. Another $6.3 million would go toward initiatives to reduce racial disparities in Mecklenburg County, including $250,000 to provide training on advancing racial equity to all County employees.
Separately, the budget would dramatically increase County Land Development, Zoning and Floodplain Permitting Fees by as much as 300% in some cases, although LUESA recently revised its proposal to allow those fees to be phased in over 2 years. These fees are paid by developers in five of the Mecklenburg County towns (excluding Huntersville) and the ETJ.
Other notable items in the budget include:
$30 million dollars in capital funding to meet the County’s goal of completing 30 miles of greenway trails by 2023;
$21 million in new funding for continued support of our early childhood education initiatives, including countywide Pre-K;
$15 million for a 5.5% percent across-the-board salary increase for all County employees; and,
$534.7 million dollars, or an 10.2% increase of $49.6 million dollars, for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. The increase, though less than requested by CMS, includes $8 million to increase the local supplement for teachers. The manager says this increase would make CMS teachers the highest paid school district in the state by one percentage point.
The Board of County Commissioners will hold a public hearing on the proposed budget next Thursday, May 9th at 6 p.m. Budget workshops will follow on May 28th and 29th, with adoption of the budget and tax rate scheduled for Tuesday, June 4th. The Board has the final say on the budget, and can adopt a tax rate higher or lower than what the manager proposed.
REBIC has concerns about the impact the proposed tax rate will have on homeowners, commercial property owners, and small businesses, and plans to speak at the public hearing. Anyone wishing to speak needs to sign up on the County website.