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Charlotte Area

Marriage license hours cuts in Meck Co

In another sign of budget belt-tightening, Mecklenburg County is reducing the hours when people can get a marriage license. The Register of Deeds office in Uptown Charlotte has been open for wedding-bound couples from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. weekdays. Starting May 1, the hours will be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The change comes just in time for peak wedding season, but Register of Deeds David Granberry says the early and late hours haven't been popular. "Especially in the morning, the number of people coming in didn't justify the expense of keeping the building open for the extra time - and even the 5-6 p.m. wasn't that much," says Granberry. "The busiest time was typically 1:30 p.m. in the afternoon. So we decided to cut those hours back again to normal county hours which would be your typical 8-5." Granberry says the county issues about 40 marriage licenses on a peak day. He does not expect the reduced hours to result in layoffs. The county's public libraries also cut back hours this week with most branches now closed two days a week. The County Manager has instructed all departments to prepare for budget cuts in the coming year averaging 16 percent. Because tax revenues and fees are down significantly, Mecklenburg County expects an $85 million budget shortfall in 2011.