County manager Mike Downs

County Manager Mike Downs discusses the funding realities of the proposed county budget and the requested needs at a previous commissioners meeting. From Cabarrus County YouTube video

CONCORD –Cabarrus County Manager Mike Downs presented the proposed budget for fiscal year 2020 (FY20) at the May 20 Board of Commissioners meeting. It contains a propsed 2-cent increase for property taxes.

As presented, the proposed FY20 general operating budget of $269,805,596 (more than $269.8 million) – is a 5.26 percent increase in spending from the adopted FY19 budget. Property tax revenue is projected to increase by $6,426,210 (more than $6.4 million), or 3.9 percent. Sales tax revenue is expected to increase by $4,478,539 (nearly $4.5 million), or 2 percent, in FY20.

Funding for the proposed FY20 budget is recommended to include an ad valorem tax rate of 74 cents, which is a 2-cent increase over the current rate of 72 cents per $100 of assessed property value. For owners of a $160,000 house (the median assessed home value in Cabarrus), that equates to an additional $32 a year in property tax.

The increase will help maintain operations of county and school facilities for several years to come by meeting deferred and current maintenance needs.

“The county and school needs are extensive,” said County Manager Mike Downs. “Future investment in our community is required to maintain facilities and improve our services.”

Building and maintenance projects for the school systems and County total more than $161 million. The additional tax revenue will fund projects such as security cameras upgrades at school facilities, roof replacements at county and school buildings, and land banking efforts for future school and county facilities.

Funding will also help meet the future demands of building three new schools and construction/renovation and operation of the new courthouse in downtown Concord over the next three years.

Cabarrus County

FY20 proposed budget highlights include:

Education and capital needs

- Funding for an additional $1,478,700 in debt service for the county to purchase land for a new high school and middle school for Cabarrus County Schools, and for a future co-location of a Cabarrus County library/senior center.

- Increased costs of ongoing facility operations at both county school systems. For FY20, these expenses increased $1.8 million, from $124,968,372 to $126,817,318.

- Increased current expense funding for both county school systems which includes utilities, charter schools, non-certified positions, building and grounds maintenance and technology systems. For FY20, these expenses increased $3.2 million, from $75,705,683 to $78,951,123.

- $472,000 for increased operational costs and energy and commodity inflation at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College’s new Advanced Technology Center which focuses on applied technical training.

- Two additional school nurse positions: one part-time at Kannapolis Middle School and one at the Early College and Performance Learning Center.

- Funds to raise the local teacher supplement to 8.25 percent of annual teacher salary for Cabarrus County Schools.

County workforce

To meet the demands of our growing community, county departments requested an additional 23 positions in the high-need areas of:

- Human Services: seven total (two in Economic Support Services, three in Economic Services and the newly formed H.U.B.B and two in Administration)

- Public Safety: 11 total (four full-time and one part-time in the Sheriff’s Office and six in Fire Services). The Fire Services increase will take the Squad 410 “manpower unit” from 12-hour to 24-hour shifts to enhance public safety and further supplement volunteer fire districts

- Infrastructure and Asset Management: one maintenance planner

- Active Living and Parks: three total, two part-time park rangers and one full-time program assistant

- General Government: one position in the County Manager’s Office to support central permitting efforts in building inspections

Inclusion of $225,000 to fund the recommendations of a salary study that evaluated General Government Service area pay scales. The departments studied include Active Living and Parks, Board of Commissioners, Board of Elections, Communications & Outreach, County Manager, Fair, Finance, Human Resources, Information Technology Services, Library, Planning and Development, Register of Deeds, Tax, and Veteran Services.

Funding of a 1.5 percent cost-of-living adjustment for all county employees.

Mental health services

Funding for continued awareness of local problems that stem from mental health issues—including substance/opioid abuse—by providing the services required to address them. The budget includes funds for an additional caseworker to provide follow-up services upon release from our detention center to help reduce the recidivism rate. The caseworker will assist with the Stepping Up Program, which assesses and provides assistance to those coming into the facility and to help them identify and access services when they leave.

A continued focus on collaboration

Cabarrus County’s population is about 211,342, which maintains its rank of 11 out of 100 counties in North Carolina.

The county continues to expand collaborative efforts with municipalities and partner agencies to manage the impact of growth on programs. Joint programs and services in the FY20 budget include:

- Operational funding for the new library branch in Midland

- Tax collection services for the City of Concord, along with reduced administrative cost for tax services provided to other municipalities

- Central permitting services with Concord and Harrisburg, with plans to include Kannapolis

- Capital projects such as the EMS co-location with City of Concord Fire at Station 10 and the revitalization project in historic downtown Kannapolis

- Quarterly summits among elected officials and staff, which continue to provide opportunities for open discussions and a cohesive vision

Alternate funding sources

In addition to the regular sources of property tax and sales tax, the county will seek additional revenue from other potential sources. If passed, the state school construction bond would provide an estimated $37.4 million dollars to Cabarrus County Schools and $3.8 million to Kannapolis City schools for school construction and repairs, while the 1/4-cent sales tax would provide an estimated $8 million in additional revenue.

Recent economic development in Cabarrus also helps in meeting capital and operational needs. In FY19, the Cabarrus County Economic Development Corporation and county commissioners completed five projects, which are projected to increase Cabarrus’ tax base by approximately $76 million and provide around 390 new jobs with an average wage of $38,695.

Keep up with the budget

Following the presentation, commissioners will hold special budget work session on May 23 from 4 to 8 p.m. in the multipurpose room at the Cabarrus County Government Center (65 Church Street SE, Concord). The sessions allow the board to discuss details of the proposed budget with management and external funded agencies.

The board will hold a public hearing and vote on the proposed budget on June 17 at 6:30 p.m. in the meeting chambers of the Government Center. A final budget must be adopted by June 30. FY20 runs from July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020.

The county will offer a special Government 101 course on Friday, June 14, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The free session is a day of active presentations and demonstrations that inform participants on how the county creates a budget, explains details of the FY20 budget and gives residents the opportunity to participate in open discussions with the county manager and commissioners.

To register for Government 101, call 704-920-2336 or email

Follow all the latest FY20 budget news at

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