County Manager calling for budget cuts tonight: 6.5% for CMS & CPCC, half for libraries & parks
Posted on 18 May 2010 by Justin Ruckman
Note: the 6.5% cuts are news as of yesterday. However, the projection for 50% in cuts expected for libraries and parks is being based off targets released back in March. The county manager’s recommendation tonight for libraries and parks may differ.
“County commission chairperson Jennifer Roberts says county manager Harry Jones will recommend to cut Charlotte — Mecklenburg school (CMS) district budget by 6.5%.
‘That’s what it’s looking like,’ Roberts told WBTV. (…)
‘It would hurt us all,’ CMS Grandparent Shirley Whittington said. ‘Especially hurt our children because we wouldn’t have enough teachers.’
Roberts says the county may not have much choice. She claims this is the worst county budget since World War II. But the county leader claims when it comes to funding education will be a top priority.”
“‘You just cannot make reductions in a budget to close that kind of a gap without asking CMS to participate in those reductions,’ said Jones. ‘We did ask other areas for higher targets.’
In the case of CMS, a 6 percent cut amounts to about $20 million.
Jones says he’s recommending other departments take cuts three or four times as much as CMS and CPCC. In March, he told the libraries and Park and Recreation to prepare for reductions totaling up to 50 percent.”
“‘The recession is over — economists have said it, people have declared it — but this is the eye of the storm for us,’ Budget Director Hyong Yi said. ‘We will feel this for a long time.’
Current estimates for the budget year that starts in July show declines in four of five revenue areas, including a 13 percent drop in sales taxes.
The only area forecast to see an increase: money collected through property taxes. But even that is estimated to grow by only 0.1 percent, compared with a jump of 12 percent six years ago.
County officials now project an $85 million shortfall in the upcoming budget. Erasing that gap could lead to layoffs of more than 500 county workers and other deep service cuts.
Finance Director Dena Diorio said staff thought the decline in sales taxes had bottomed out last year. But lower-than-projected figures from December, one of the busiest shopping months, now have them projecting less money.”