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State cuts mean Mecklenburg County must pick up some expenses

Mecklenburg County will have to pick up at least $5 million in expenses that the state has taken care of in past years. State lawmakers approved a budget last week that eliminated the state re-imbursement of $18 per day for allowing people convicted of misdemeanors to stay in local jails. Mecklenburg County Sheriff Chipp Bailey says that means the Sheriff's Office will be out $2 million for the year. "Most of the things we operate are mandated. There are only a few things that are unmandated," says Bailey. "There's nothing I'm willing to cut right now and that's what we'll have to talk to the county manager's office about to see if there are other ways to find revenue sources." Bailey says the state's elimination of the re-imbursement came as a surprise. He says he had initially heard that state lawmakers were considering cutting the payment, but then had decided against it. Mecklenburg County Manager Harry Jones says Area Mental Health will lose $2 million of state money this year. The state has also decided to shift payment for child support enforcement to counties. In the past, the state has supplied $1 million for that program. Jones says he's asked county staff to conduct a detailed analysis of the state budget to determine any other impacts on county services.