Newly Revised Budget Calls For Mecklenburg County Homeowners To Cough Up More Cash

MECKLENBURG COUNTY, NC — A likely tax hike is on the horizon for homeowners in Mecklenburg county. The newly revised budget calls for homeowners to cough up more cash.

In a straw vote Tuesday, County Commissioners voted five to three to increase property taxes 3/4 of a penny – setting the stage for next week’s official vote. The tax hike would create $9.6 million to fund early childhood education.

This vote coming nearly a week after hundreds of teachers showed up to a public hearing demanding Commissioners to fully fund their budget. Now, the county is moving closer to  increasing teacher pay supplement. Something that hasn’t happened in 10 years.

President of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Association of Educators, Erlene Lyde says she feels like she and thousands of other CMS teachers were heard.

In a straw vote, Mecklenburg County Commissioners voted to take $6.8 million from salaries that are funded, but unfilled, known as lapse salaries, to increase teacher pay supplement by 7%. Lyde says it will help keep educators in Mecklenburg County.

“We hope they will continue, and that this is a start in terms of hoping to retaining teachers,” says Lyde.

Using lapse salaries was an idea by Commissioner Matthew Ridenhour.

“I think that’s  something that, I know that the whole board is proud of that, and I hope that the community is as well,” says Commissioner Ridenhour.

Ridenhour telling WCCB he didn’t want an additional tax hike to pay for the increased supplements because of the county tax re-evaluation is right around the corner.

County Manager Dena Diorio says by using lapse salaries to fund the supplements, the 2020 budget will start with a gap.

“It presents challenges when we are going to have multiple needs next year when we are going to have to fund this first,” says Diorio.

Part of the property tax hike would pay for Universal Pre-K.