Mecklenburg budget likely won’t change property tax rate

The recommended operating budget that Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio plans to unveil Thursday for the fiscal year that begins July 1 is expected to preserve the county property tax rate.

Diorio, who will present her second budget to county commissioners at 11:30 a.m., has said she doesn’t expect to raise – or lower – property taxes with strong county reserves and recovering property tax and sales tax revenues that are expected continue into the new fiscal year. The presentation with Budget Director Michael Bryant will take place in the board’s chambers at the city-county government center.

Mecklenburg commissioners Chairman Trevor Fuller has said repeatedly he doesn’t anticipate any change in the rate.

At the commissioners’ budget retreat in February, Assistant County Manager Mark Foster told commissioners that Mecklenburg continues to see revenues grow, particularly from sale taxes. They are expected to increase by $15 million in the coming fiscal year.

Last week, commissioners got news that revenues from property taxes will take a $69 million hit for refunds from overvalued properties found in the 2011 revaluation review that is nearing an end.

At that retreat, the board was told to expect $30 million to $35 million in refunds, but that was before many larger commercial properties had been reviewed.

Still, those refunds will come from Mecklenburg’s abundant county fund and they aren’t expected to force the board to raise the property tax rate.

A year ago, half the county budget went to education. Last week, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board asked for $39.9 million in additional money from Mecklenburg, much of it to fill 140 teaching assistant positions and $2.6 million to fund driver’s education.

School officials expected both initiatives to be cut from state funding this year. Yet they both appear in a House proposal that has gone to the N.C. Senate.

“This board is committed to education,” Diorio said Wednesday. She wouldn’t say if CMS will get all of the funds it requested.

Perlmutt: 704-358-5061