Residents in unincorporated parts of the county might notice some changes in the coming months regarding which law enforcement agency protects them and how much they pay for that service.
State statute requires counties with more than 500,000 residents to use county-wide law enforcement agencies to patrol unincorporated areas.
During this fiscal year, the county paid the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department a little more than $12 million to serve those areas, many of which are in North Mecklenburg.
But as towns have annexed their unincorporated areas, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police's patrol area has become smaller.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Charlotte Observer
"The unincorporated area is shrinking," said Commissioner Karen Bentley, whose district includes the lake towns. "It's costing the city of Charlotte less to police that area, so we're going to pay them less."
The city's bill to the county is expected to drop to $11.46 million next fiscal year.
At the same time, the unincorporated tax base is projected to grow by 1.3 percent.
Since state law requires officials to create a revenue-neutral tax rate after revaluation, this might mean residents will pay about 1.7 cents less on the dollar next year.
The current tax is 20.46 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The new tax rate for the service district could be 18.69 cents should the county's projections for CMPD's bill be accurate.
Still, Bentley said the recent property revaluation might cancel out any possible savings from a tax rate change.
For instance, the owner of a home valued at $200,000 would save about $35 with the new tax rate, provided that the home didn't rise in value between the 2003 and 2011 revaluations.
"It's a little disingenuous," said Bentley, noting many homes in the area saw increases in valuation.
Meanwhile, county officials are expecting the state to change legislation to allow them to contract with other municipalities for law enforcement in the unincorporated area.
"That will be terrific," said Bentley. "It's been a long time coming. It gives the towns the ultimate flexibility in determining a contract for those services."
Cornelius Police Chief Bence Hoyle has been a proponent of legislative change. His town, which has about 75 miles of shoreline, must cede jurisdiction on the lake to CMPD because of the current law.
Hoyle has said while CMPD does a great job patrolling the lake part-time, his department could improve response times because his officers are already in the area.
Bentley said she expects legislators to decide whether to change the law during the current session.