County Manager presents FY15 budget recommendation to Board of Commissioners

Proposed FY15 budget reduces general fund while addressing growth needs


May 19, 2014 — At the May 19 Cabarrus County Board of Commissioners meeting County Manager Mike Downs presented the proposed budget for fiscal year 2015. The balanced budget includes a recommended General Fund Budget of $209,684,590—a 1.77 percent decrease in spending from the FY14 adopted budget. To fund this budget as proposed will require the Board of Commissioners to adopt an ad valorem tax rate of 70 cents, the same rate as the amended FY13 and FY14 budgets.
In his message, Downs highlighted several areas of the FY15 budget, including:
  • A reduction in departmental current expenses of approximately $2.7 million;  
  • A new branch of the Cabarrus County Public Library System in the Midland (southern Cabarrus) area and an additional Emergency Medical Service (EMS) station in the Concord Mills/Speedway area; 
  • Additional $2,696,438 in proposed funding for annual salary increases and building maintenance for Cabarrus County and Kannapolis City school districts;
  • Workers compensation costs funded through the current expense budget;
  • And the revision of the County’s Five Year Plan to provide additional capital and current expense funding to schools.
The proposed FY15 budget carefully weighs several factors, including economic and growth forecasts; decreases related to lottery funds, the Tax and Tag Together program and debt proceeds; the unemployment rate; the financial impact of Federal and State healthcare programs and services; operational and capital needs of the Cabarrus County and Kannapolis City school districts and Rowan Cabarrus Community College; and the Governor’s budget proposal. It also considers County programs, services, staffing and productivity. 
The FY15 budget does not include cost-of-living or merit salary increases for County employees. The budget does include $100,000 for proposed salary adjustments for positions considered below market rate and internal equity.
“The proposed budget is designed to ensure staffing levels, programs and services, and their associated expenditures will address increased workloads, create market-competitive salaries, and meet the needs and expectations of Cabarrus County citizens,” said Downs.
Following projections from the State and the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC), Cabarrus County leaders expect positive economic growth and the State’s changes in sales tax regulations to improve sales tax and ad valorem revenues, providing an increase of $4 million (three percent) over FY14 revenues. However, they are cautious about not having historical numbers to compare against.
“Cabarrus County’s economy continues to trend in a positive direction showing signs of increased revenues and employment opportunities within the County,” said Downs. “While we hope to enjoy this trend for many years to come, the growth will also bring more residents and greater demands for County programs and services. The proposed budget meets these demands for the next fiscal year by streamlining operations and balancing the needs of County and school operations with the available financial resources in a way that allows both operations remain fiscally sustainable.”
The Cabarrus County Board of Commissioners will hold special budget work sessions on May 27 and 29, from 4-7 p.m. in the multipurpose room of the Cabarrus County Government Center (65 Church Street SE, Concord.) The sessions will conclude at the Board Work Session on June 2. At the sessions, the Board of Commissioners will have the opportunity to discuss details of the proposed budget with management and outside agencies funded within the County budget.
The Board will hold a public hearing on the proposed budget and consider its adoption at its June 16 meeting in the meeting chambers of the Government Center. A final budget must be adopted by June 30.