County Manager presents FY18 budget

​Economic development drives opportunities through the FY18 budget


May 16, 2017 — At the May 15 Cabarrus County Board of Commissioners meeting, County Manager Mike Downs presented the proposed budget for fiscal year 2018 (FY18).
The balanced budget includes a recommended General Operating Budget of $246,620,485 — a 3.83% decrease in spending from the FY17 revised 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 first adopted for the FY13 budget and reapproved for each year since. 
“Our emphasis on economic development must continue to move forward,” said County Manager Mike Downs. “It increases our tax base and tends to bring many more quality jobs with above-average salaries. This helps us maintain County programs and services, as well as meet expectations to continually improve and expand our ability to support important investments in our community.”
The County’s budget centers around seven priority issues identified by the Board of Commissioners at its January retreat: planning, growth, and economic development; communication and transparency; enhanced programs and excellent public service; public safety; transportation; education; and mental health.
Downs’ message included the following highlights:
  • The budget continues to fund collaborative efforts between the County and majority of the municipalities, including joint land use plans that meet future needs of our citizens and responsibly guide government infrastructure investment.
  • The Board of Commissioners will also build upon established channels and explore new ways to communicate with the public frequently and transparently. The County has resourcefully planned several major communication initiatives to coincide, including a branding campaign, website redesign, and launch of a livestream version of the County’s PEG television channel. Website users will benefit from visual consistency, enhanced experiences, and increased reach of programming. The intent is to attract economic development, promote viewing of Board of Commissioners meetings, and help successfully deliver information about programs and services offered by the County.
  • Net new positions—34 positions (26 full-time and 8 part-time)
    • Human Services (13 full-time, 1 part-time)
    • Active Living and Parks (2 full-time, 2 part-time)
    • Human Resources (1)
    • County Manager’s Office (1)
    • Communications and Outreach (1)
    • Infrastructure and Asset Management (2)
    • Construction standards (3)
    • Sheriff (2)
    • Emergency Management (1)
    • EMS (5 part-time)
  • The County continues to find ways to meet the demand of keeping a strong workforce in a strengthening economy—especially in several high-need departments, including Human Services, public safety and facilities maintenance. The budget includes funding to implement the recommendations of the Comprehensive Salary Study, completed during FY17, and offer prospective employees market-competitive compensation packages.
  • The Board of Commissioners and staff continue to work with the United States and North Carolina departments of transportation, and our municipalities to advocate for additional roads and improvement of existing roads. Tracking these projects ensures that congestion, safety, and mobility issues that exist in our county are at the forefront when those decision-making bodies meet and plan future projects. 
  • The County will take on additional debt service for the construction of the new high school on Weddington Road, Performance Learning Center, a warehouse and the downtown Concord parking deck.
  • The Board of Commissioners has created a Mental Health Advisory Board and staff is investigating strategies that the County hopes to implement during FY18. This has become a countywide initiative with participation from representatives of public, private, and non-profit agencies. Through the Stepping Up program, the Board of Commissioners will move forward with efforts to improve detection of and identify appropriate management strategies for mental health concerns among the County’s detention center population.

The Cabarrus County Board of Commissioners will hold special budget work sessions on May 23 and 25, from 4-8 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 5. 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 County will also offer a special Government 101 course on Friday, June 2, from 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m. The free Government 101 session is a day of active presentations and demonstrations that teaches attendees how the County creates a budget, explains details of the FY18 budget and gives residents the opportunity to participate in open discussions about the County’s proposed budget. To register for Government 101, call 704-920-2336 or email

The Board will hold a public hearing on the proposed budget and consider its adoption at its June 19 meeting in the meeting chambers of the Government Center at 6:30 p.m. The Board must adopt a final budget by June 30.