Ever wonder what's most important to your government? Check out the budget! That's where government officials and policymakers work to establish funding priorities.
What do the governments do? How do I find out about the budget?
City of Charlotte
- Elected officials: City Council (includes Mayor)
- City Manager: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.charlottenc.gov
- Services include: police, fire/emergency services and animal control; water/sewer; garbage and recycling pick-up; transportation (CATS, LYNX, Airport); city infrastructure, build/maintain city streets, streetlights, sidewalks; planning and development; land use, zoning, neighborhood development; economic development, jobs
- More information about council, mayor, city government and budget
Towns: Cornelius, Davidson, Huntersville, Matthews, Mint Hill, Pineville
- Town Councils include mayors and town boards. Each town has a manager.
- Cornelius www.cornelius.org
- Davidson www.ci.davidson.nc.us
- Huntersville www.huntersville.org
- Matthews www.matthewsnc.com
- Mint Hill www.minthill.com
- Pineville www.pinevillenc.net
- Town services include police, planning/zoning, garbage pickup, Fire/EMS, parks & rec, cultural arts, streets, sidewalks, stormwater
- More information about town boards, services and budgets
- Board of County Commissioners
- County Manager: email@example.com
- Website: www.mecklenburgcountync.gov
- County services include: health, mental health, social services, courts, jails, child support enforcement, job training, libraries, funding for CMS and CPCC, parks, greenways, historic preservation, air, water, land quality, county government operations (property, county taxes, elections, communications)
- More information about county commission, manager, services and budget
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS)
- Board of Education
- Superintendent (interim): firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.cms.k12.nc.us
- CMS services include: education, public instruction and programs, school operations, school construction and buildings
- More information about CMS, school board and budget
North Carolina General Assembly
- Mecklenburg representatives: http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/counties/counties.pl?County=Mecklenburg
- Local impacts include: laws, school funding, and more
- Role play commissioners and departments to create your own Mecklenburg County budget!
- Contact officials to make your voice heard on budget decisions and government priorities
- Students - get involved in Youth Voice Leadership Alliance
- Take a look at the federal budget proposal
- Make your own federal budget with People's Pie
- Create a county budget Counties Work
- Build NC's budget and explore state services and funding with Civic Education Consortium
- Learn where the money goes - understanding state and local expenditures from Civic Education Consortium
- Weigh community needs and collaborate to make your own budget in Dollars and Sense from Kids Voting USA (look in grades 3-5 curriculum - great content for any grade)
When do governments make their budgets? For local governments, budgeting is done in the winter and spring. Usually they establish goals and strategies in the winter, and then from there the top administrator (the county, city or town manager or school superintendent) works with staff to develop a recommended budget. The recommended budget is just that - a recommendation based on what the manager, with input from government departments, policymakers and data from goals, past results, community needs and other information. A big factor is how much money is available to spend on budget items.
From there, the elected officials take a look at the budget, discuss it, give the public a chance to weigh in, and discuss it some more. The city, county and town budgets are adopted, or enacted into law, by June 30 of each year.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools' budget are handled a little bit the same and a little bit differently, in part because CMS is funded through other governments (as opposed to being able to ask people to pay taxes, like the county, city, state and federal governments do to get money to pay for their government services). The school district staff create a recommended budget. In 2012, this is presented in March. The school board and public have opportunities to weigh in. In April, the school board approves its budget request. Who are they requesting money from? The county and the state. This gets complicated, because the schools have to request money before the county or state decide how much money they can spend, and how much each agency - including the schools - will get.