Charlotte City Manager Gregg Guetschow identified four key action points during Charlotte City Council’s first look at the City’s proposed 2015-16 budget on Monday, April 13. The four points, Guetschow said, will likely require more information from City staff in subsequent meetings in order for the council to move forward in the budget process.
The first key policy decision, as Guetschow described them, is a major downtown parking lot improvement program. Guetschow said the city has been operating under a “pay as you go” basis to this point, setting aside $100,000 per year to improve downtown city parking lots.
“In order to go along with other efforts related to downtown revitalization, we have kind of rethought this and said ‘we’re setting aside $100,000 a year, why don’t we use that to pay debt service instead of accumulating money and we can get these parking lots all upgraded while all the other work is going on to try to improve the downtown and accomplish that all perhaps as soon as in the 2016 construction season,’” Guetschow said.
To accomplish upgrading the remaining three downtown parking lots, Guetschow said the city would sell roughly $1.2 million in bonds, which would be paid off over a 10 to 15 year period.
The second key policy decision involves a utility rate increase for city water and sewer. Guetschow said the city has not undertaken a substantial rate increase in some time and officials believe it is time for a rate increase. He said a more thorough rate analysis would be provided to council members at the April 27 meeting.
The third key policy decision involves the Owens-Brockway money. Currently, the $880,000-plus is sitting in the city’s designated fund balance. The council will continue discussions as to how that money would be best spent.
The final key policy decision involves a street improvement program. Guetschow provided council members with a list of streets within the city that have been rated between 3 and 5 (poor to fair condition) by the PASER rating system as well as the cost for mill and resurface or reconstruction. The total estimated cost for all streets within the city with a rating of 3, 4, or 5 is $25,648,741.
Guetschow said the information for street improvements is meant to be a starting point for council conversations. He said the council will receive close to $600,000 in the this fiscal year from the Eaton County Road Millage fromwhich to make street improvements.
Guetschow recommended council take a meeting to really look into each of the four highlighted areas of the budget.
“The reason for that is I think that these are all areas where it’s likely that you’re going to want more information from staff and in order to give us time within the budget consideration process to answer your questions and devote more time to major issues that are of concern to you, I’d like to know that sooner rather than later,” Guetschow said. “We’ll have more information on the rate analysis, we’ll have a more detailed report concerning the parking lot project, you have the street information. We’d like to spend time specifically talking about those three things. Whether you want to bring up the Owens-Brockway funds again, that’s entirely up to you.”
The council is obligated to complete its budget by the time of its first meeting in June, giving the council nearly two months to make decisions on the information presented April 13.
The full proposed budget is available on the city’s website at under the Services/Administration, Taxes and Finances tab.