Mecklenburg County wants you to make your voice heard as we’re making the budget for Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21). If you are following the steps we take to make the budget every year, you might know we are entering step two. This is where the County listens to you in new ways. In December 2019, we launched the Resident Budget Priority Survey. It helps people understand how we are using County dollars and how we fund departments and agencies. Then it asks them to rank their top priorities based on their community needs. This survey goes to the Manager’s office when they’re making budgetary decisions. Residents can also come share their feedback at budget meetings on January 7 and May 7.
Bringing the Budget Home
We often ask the community to think of the County budget like they think about their own household expenses. How would you decide how to spend money for your family knowing you don’t have an unlimited budget and that there are differing needs in your home? How do you consider all the things needed to balance your checkbook and make important decisions?
One way the County does this is by listening to our family members: the community. While national and state-level budgets often make headlines, it is the local budgets that impact your day-to-day life. In fact, in last year’s budget, the County debuted the priorities survey for the first time. The Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners heard your concerns about affordable housing, reducing racial disparities, funding Pre-K Education, mental health and supporting parks and greenways.
The Board has made affordable housing a top priority in several very real ways. The total investment for affordable housing from the Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) Budget, $22.5 million, was a $15.2 million increase from the year before. Find the full breakdown in our post about helping the homeless. Additionally, in the FY20 Budget, the Board supported Universal Pre-K by approving $20 million to go toward County-funded child care subsidies. And as of October 2019, the childcare subsidy waitlist has been cleared thanks to the County’s ongoing investment and partnership with Child Care Resources Inc.
How to Make your Voice Heard
- Take the Budget Priority Survey.
- Attend February 2020 outreach meetings.
- Speak at the upcoming public hearings.
- All you need to know about the FY21 budget process is right here. While you’re there, be sure to check out the Meck Budget Simulator. It allows County residents to show us how they would balance the budget. Learn where we get money and how we spend it. Then make a balanced budget based on what’s important to you. Share your work with County leaders and your friends online.