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Mecklenburg County Hosts Series Of Public Budget Forums

Mecklenburg County wants to hear the public's take on what services people value most as officials begin figuring out next year's budget. The first in a series of forums begins Thursday night at 7:00 pm at the Charlotte School of Law. Last year as commissioners contemplated cutting $80 million from the budget, several groups, like the library system, held public forums. County Budget Direct Hyong Yi says that information didn't always make it to the county manager or commissioners. With the county taking on the forums, he says that will change. "This way we can make sure that all the voices that are in the room, all the participants, can be certain that they were heard by the people who make decisions around funding at the end of the year for the county," says Yi. County Manager Harry Jones, and commissioners Jennifer Roberts and George Dunlap plan to attend Thursday night's forum. Over the past two years, the county has cut more than $150 million. This year the county expects the budget gap will be much smaller. Before Governor Bev Perdue released her budget last week, Yi estimated the gap at $500,000. But he says Perdue's budget could transfer $10 to $20 million in costs to the county. The county has plans for at least eight more forums over the next month. Crossroads Charlotte is also hosting a series of small group meetings focused on CMS and its budget CMS, city and county budgets.