Where did the money go?

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Mecklenburg County is in a financial mess.  It is lacking nearly $35 million to stay afloat for the next few months.  County leaders say they passed a conservative budget last year, so what went wrong?

They blame the financial experts who predicted a better economic outcome.   As a result, a dozen libraries must close, Charlotte - Mecklenburg schools may have to return millions of dollars, and hundreds of county employees will be out of a job in a few weeks.

We asked Commission chairperson Jennifer Roberts if leaders could have done more to prevent a disaster.

"In my opinion there may have been some things on the edge that we might have been able to tweak," Roberts said.  "But nowhere near enough to fill the gap we have now."

We asked were commissioners reckless in passing a budget that wound up lacking millions and millions of dollars.

"We had a 9-0 vote," Roberts said. "Republicans, Democrats Conservatives, Liberals - nine people said this is an appropriate budget for this time, that doesn't sound reckless to me."

Roberts is optimistic about Mecklenburg county's financial picture.

She says the county is now diversifying so all types of revenue can flow to the area.

But she warns flat funding for county agencies will take place the next five years.