Friday, May 11, 2012

Proposed Charlotte Budget focuses on investments for City's future and property tax increase

Charlotte City Manager Curt Walton has presented to the Mayor and City
Council his budget recommendations for Fiscal Year 2013 and for the
City's five-year Capital Investment Plan. His proposal includes a
total $1.97 billion FY2013 budget that maintains core operating needs
and invests in capital projects necessary for a growing community. In
2011, Charlotte added 8,500 new jobs with almost $700 million in
investments. Local building permits totaled 3,975 from January 2012
to March 2012 compared to 3,170 for the same period last year, a 25%
increase. Unemployment in Charlotte also dropped from 10% in July
2011 to 8.5% in February, and despite the economic downturn, the City
added over 75,000 residents between 2006 and 2011.

Capital Investment Plan (CIP)
A cornerstone of the proposed budget includes a $926 million capital
investment plan, which would be funded by a 3.6¢ property tax
increase. The goal of the plan is to ensure adequate capital
investments to ensure neighborhoods and businesses have the necessary
foundation to thrive and compete in a global economy. If the capital
program is approved by Council, the projects would be placed on the
ballot in four separate bond packages over the next seven years.

The capital investment plan is segmented into three areas: Investing
in Corridors, Increasing Connections, and Improving Communities.

The Investing in Corridors package project highlights include:
· $43 million for roadway extensions supporting economic
development in the Airport/West Corridor
· $25 million for transportation connections along the East/
Southeast Corridor Infrastructure
· $102.5 million for vehicle, pedestrian, and bicycle access
improvements for the Northeast Corridor to complement the extension of
light rail service to the University area

Increasing Connections investments include projects such as:
· $24.9 million for City-wide sidewalks and pedestrian safety
· $119 million for continued development of the Charlotte
Streetcar from French St. near Johnson C. Smith University to
Sunnyside St. past Presbyterian Hospital
· $35 million for a 26-mile Cross-Charlotte multi-use trail

The Improving Communities package includes project highlights such as:
· $56.5 million for six new police stations
· $120 million for neighborhood improvements in the Prosperity
Village, Whitehall/Ayrsley, Sunset/Beatties Ford, West Trade/
Rozzelles Ferry, and Central/Eastland/Albemarle communities
· $60 million for Affordable Housing

General Fund
On the General Fund side, the budget includes:
· $500,000 for four crime analysts and three telecommunicators
for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police
· $1.1 million to offset increased fuel costs
· $1.4 million increase for maintenance and repair of City
vehicles and equipment

CATS, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities and Storm Water
The budget also includes some increases in rates and charges to fund
infrastructure expansions that accommodate growing service demands.
The average monthly water/sewer bill will increase $3.30 going from
$56.23 to $59.53, and the average monthly storm water fees will rise
42¢ from $7.06 to $7.48. The FY2013 Charlotte Area Transit System
budget builds on programs of past years and is responsive to service
and revenue challenges. A 25¢ base fare increase is recommended for
implementation in FY2013 to support program efforts.

Employee Compensation and Benefits Summary

As part of his presentation to Council, City Manager Walton also
presented his compensation and benefits recommendations for City

· Includes a redesign of the Public Safety Pay Plan and
funding for merit steps of 2.5%
or 5% for those below the maximum pay step and a 1.5 % market adjustment

· Includes funding for a 3% merit budget for the Broadbanding
Pay Plan

· Modify the medical plan designs to ensure the City's plans
continue to contain costs, promote in-network utilization and remain
competitive with market practices

· Increase of 2% in City's cost

· Increase of 2% for medical premiums in the higher "plus"
medical plan for City employees

· No increase in medical premiums for employees choosing the
base medical plan

· Extend benefits to same sex domestic partners

· Evaluate offering a network based dental plan with a high
and low dental option

· Amend the Shared Sick Leave policy to allow use of shared
sick leave for a catastrophic Workers' Compensation covered illness or

The Mayor and Council will discuss the City Manager's recommendations
in several work sessions over the next few weeks. Residents may speak
at the public hearing on May 29. To sign up, call (704) 336-2248.
The next steps in the budget process include:

Council Budget Adjustments 3 pm, May 16
Public Hearing 7 pm, May 29
Budget Adjustments Straw Votes Noon, May 30
Budget Adoption 7 pm, June 11

For more information, visit or keep up with
the latest budget developments on City Source, the City's bi-weekly
news show, which airs Thursdays at 7 p.m. on The GOV Channel Cable-16.

The City of Charlotte provides services to more than 700,000 residents.
The City's focus areas are Housing and Neighborhood Development,
Community Safety, Transportation, Economic Development and the
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