Mecklenburg: County manager proposes $38 million in cuts

By Dedrick Russell - bio l email

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Mecklenburg County is facing a major budget shortfall in the next fiscal year. It appears commissioners aren't just taking a paring knife to the budget; it's more like they're slashing it with a machete.

All sorts of county services and departments are facing deep cuts.  Law enforcement will take a hit and libraries too. Park and recreation will cut back on maintaining parks. And public health will take a hit. These cuts will save the county more than $38 million.

Nearly $4 million will come from library budgets. If the cuts are approved no more Sunday hours at libraries.  Also 50 part time librarians will lose their jobs, and resources would diminish.  Administrators say the libraries taking a hit comes at a bad time.

"I don't buy any books, I check them all out of the library," County resident Whitni Wertz said.  "It's money I save and put toward other things I need."

Click on the red camera icons to see how people are reacting to cuts in library services and cut backs to taking care of county parks.

Also below you will find a detailed list of the county's proposed cuts.

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(The following information is from the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners and County Manager.)

CHARLOTTE, NC - A list of $38 million in initial budget cuts proposed to the Board of County Commissioners on April 7 by County Manager Harry Jones is now available online. The proposed reductions will be a part of the manager's recommended budget for the 2010 fiscal year that begins on July 1, this year.

Department directors helped identify the approximate $38 million in reductions in an effort to address an estimated $78.9 million funding gap. Jones said the remainder of the $41 million will be addressed by making choices in the coming weeks among other reductions for the County, as well as for Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools (CMS), Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC), WTVI public television and outside agencies.

In addition to the $38 million in service reductions, Jones plans to recommend a reduction in employee compensation next year to include no merit increases and an increase in employees' share of premiums for medical and dental plans. Jones said he hopes to avoid any further reductions in employee compensation.

The reductions posted at are organized by Focus Area, Department and Service.  The FY2009 adopted budget is provided for each department. Funding reductions for CMS and CPCC are not included in this document.

Among the reductions are:

  • $3 million for Park & Recreation services with the largest cuts being in maintenance of parks and centers
  • $3.6 million for Public Library operations
  • $1.7 million associated with 30 vacant public assistance positions at the Department of Social Services
  • $4.4 million for costs related to non-mandated foster care contracts and payments
  • $8 million from Sheriff's Office services
  • $1.4 million across County information technology operations
  • $1.5 million for Health Department services, including seven school nurse and clinic positions
  • $1.7 million from changes made in child and adolescent mental health services
  • $668,000 by eliminating the Fighting Back program (A drug and alcohol abuse awareness program)
  • $885,000 from adoption assistance for parents by using the same funding model as the state
  • $650,000 from six vacant real estate appraisal positions

The County Manager's Office will have the highest percentage of cuts, Jones said, including the elimination of three filled and four vacant positions for a total reduction of $1.3 million.