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Monday, March 14, 2011

Mecklenburg County: Government, budget and services

Budget time!In winter and spring, many governments go through their budget processes. It is a great way to learn about government services, priorities, leaders and opportunities for citizen involvement. Figuring out how much money to budgetMecklenburg County's budget process kicks off in January with reviews of the economy and leadership meetings where priorities are defined. Through the winter and spring, the county staff revises estimates on how much money it will receive for the coming year. For the county, the year begins July 1 and ends June 30.Budgets are sometimes variable, because the money the government receives from taxes, fees and other sources, varies depending on the economy and other factors. Even when the budget is set, the money the county receives (and then spends) can increase or decrease through the year.What goes in the budgetThe county funds a variety of services, such as education, jails, parks, libraries, health and programs for special populations (such as children, elderly, disabled and veterans). Through the budget process, the county manager and staff provide information to the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) about county services and priorities. Some services are mandated, meaning by law they have to be provided and sometimes at a certain level. Other services are discretionary, which means the county chooses to provide those services for the community. A list of mandated services is included in the resources below.With a certain amount of money to budget, the county leaders sometimes must make tough decisions. Some things get funded, some get reduced and some get cut.  When it happensThe BOCC defines its budget priorities for the county manager. The county manager prepares a budget and presents it in May. Between May and when the budget is finalized in June, the public has a final opportunity to speak publicly and contact officials about the budget. This is a chance to make your voice heard. Get informed You can follow the budget process in the news, on Twitter (search for #meckbocc - you do not need an account) and on the county website.Here's a little more information about the county government, leaders, budget and ways to get involved. Let us know what else you want to learn about the county government and budget process! YouthCivics_Mecklenburg_Cty
View more presentations from Kids Voting Charlotte and Mecklenburg


Learn more
BOCC ranking of services in preparation for FY2012 budget 
List of county services by category, with mandated services noted
FY 2011 budget ordinance
Mecklenburg County Open Government - Reports, public documents and more
Map of commissioner districts
Watch meetings online
Download Kids Voting/YouthCivics Mecklenburg County presentation and handouts (session agenda, questions, MeckBOCC contact info and representation)*
County government website
County government on social media
Legislative agenda - some examples of county and state government intersecting

Watch for future posts about the city, towns and state governments and budgets.

Teachers: these resources are great for Civics & Economics classes plus social studies and language arts (informational text) in other grades, and align to the NC Standard Course of Study. Contact us for more information.

* email Kids Voting for copies including editable PPT