Mecklenburg commissioners set funding priorities for FY 2020 budget

County wants to provide more services

GREENSBORO, NC (WBTV) - Friday was all about the Mecklenburg County Commissioners and their top issues in 2019. It was the final day of their annual budget retreat.

They took part in an exercise to help them figure out collectively what their top priorities are.

First on the list is addressing racial disparity followed by funding Pre-K, affordable housing, mental health and parks and greenways.

Mecklenburg commissioners top priorities to address in next year's budget.
Mecklenburg commissioners top priorities to address in next year's budget.

Issues like affordable housing have typically been the domain of city government but Chairman George Dunlap is hoping to help by making tax rebates and houses seized through tax delinquency available to those in need.

“Affordable housing is a broad topic and there’s lots of ways to help and we just want to do our part,” Chairman George Dunlap said.

County manager Dena Diorio says knowing the priorities are important before releasing her first draft of the budget in May.

“I want those to be top of mind for me as I put together my recommended budgets,” Diorio said.

What helps is having a healthy reserve fund of more than $500 million. County commissioners discussed drawing down on that, especially after the revaluation, so taxpayers don’t shoulder the burden of providing more county services. But said they’ll be cognizant of not emptying the coffers.

“We do have a hefty budget, we’re going to spend those funds first but we’re also going to make sure there’s a cushion there so we don’t get in trouble,” Dunlap said.

County policy is to keep the reserve fund at 27 percent of the budget, in case of recession. right now at more than 500 million dollars they’re at about 48 percent.

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