Strategy & Budget

​​Glossary of terms

This session provides the opportunity for preliminary Council decisions regarding the Manager’s Recommended Budget. By Council practice, each Council member has the opportunity to add or subtract any item or amount from the recommended budget. Council has traditionally required that the adjustments result in a balanced budget. Those items receiving five or more votes from Council members are then voted on at the straw votes session.

The expenditure amount planned for a particular project or service that requires additional legislative action or appropriation before expenditures are authorized.

A legal authorization granted by the City’s legislative authority (City Council) to make expenditures and incur obligations for specific purposes.

The Balanced Scorecard is a performance measurement system that translates strategy into tangible objectives and measures. The Balanced Scorecard uses four perspectives to ensure a balanced approach to evaluating achievement of organizational strategy. The four perspectives are serve the customer, run the business, manage resources, and develop employees.

The City’s Broadbanding Pay Plan covers all City employees with the exception of non-managerial sworn Police and uniformed Fire employees. The plan provides merit increases based on the employee’s performance and the employee’s pay rate in relation to market.

North Carolina State law requires local government to have an adopted budget ordinance by fiscal year-end (June 30) specifying the budget plan.

The Council organizes its Budget Committee as a mechanism for guiding the progression of the budget process and for providing oversight of agenda planning for the various sessions in the budget development process.

This session provides Council with a detailed overview of the Manager’s recommended budget. This provides a forum for the Manager to share highlights of the budget and for Council to ask initial questions as the budget process moves into the review stage.

This series of half-day workshops, conducted by Council, provide for detailed discussions of the budget issues and decisions that characterize the development of the budget plan. Staff is available to share pertinent information during these sessions as Council works to identify and confirm areas of focus, operating and capital investment policies, and review projected revenues and expense information, and review program and service delivery priorities.

Annual appropriations from specific funding sources are shown in the City’s budget for certain capital purposes such as street improvements, building construction, and facility maintenance. These appropriations are supported by a five-year allocation that details all projects, funding sources, and expenditure amounts. The allocation plan covers a five-year period.

A United States Department of Housing and Urban Development grant that local governments receive annually to support economic development projects, low income housing, and services to low-income neighborhoods.

Organizational aims or purposes for the next two to four years that are the focal point of the organization’s initiatives.

Annual principal and interest payments that the local government owes on money that it has borrowed.

The city’s operating departments.

One of four City Departments which are fully funded by operating revenues rather than property taxes. These are Charlotte-Douglas Airport, Charlotte Area Transit System, Charlotte Water, and Storm Water Services.

Private, non-profit organizations which provide services to citizens by use of partial funding from the City.

A one-year fiscal period. The City’s fiscal year extends from July 1st through June 30th.

Five strategic areas of focus, which serve as the framework for allocating funds and resources. These are: Housing and Neighborhood Development, Community Safety, Economic Development, Environment, and Transportation.

A term that expresses the amount of time for which a position has been budgeted in relation to the amount of time a regular, full-time employee normally works in a year.​
An accounting entity with a set of self-balancing revenue and expenditure accounts used to record the financial affairs of a governmental organization.
It is the difference between assets and liabilities of a particular fund. It incorporates the difference between the revenues and expenditures each year.

A central fund into which most of the City’s general tax revenues and discretionary resources are pooled, which is allocated to support many of the operations of City government.

Bonds whose payment is guaranteed by the full faith and credit of the government body. 
This initial retreat serves to reaffirm Council priorities and identify citizen concerns and desires for service delivery during the next fiscal year. This discussion also includes any other additional parameters for possible changes to the budget plan under development. City Council adopts a strategic plan as a result of this discussion and the departments are charged with meeting these identified needs.
The transportation body that is responsible for overseeing the development of the transportation system in Mecklenburg and Union counties of North Carolina.
Taxing districts designed to enhance economic vitality and quality of life in the central business district or other commercial areas. Three MSDs are located in the Center City area, one in the South End area, and one in the University City area.

Takes into account transfers between funds (General Fund, Enterprise Funds and Capital Funds).​​​
Those services or functions that is not specifically associated with a particular department.

The portion of the budget plan that represents recurring expenditures such as salaries, utilities, postage, office supplies, fuel, etc.

Relatively small capital projects that do not lend themselves to debt  financing and are paid with current available revenue.
A quantitative indicator of how programs and services are directly contributing to the achievement of an agency’s objectives. 
These indicators may include measures of inputs, outputs, outcomes, or activities.
A term that refers to a unique position identification number assigned to each position, authorized by the City Council through the budget or other ordinances. 
Positions may have a common title name, 
but each position has its own unique identification number assigned by the Human Resources People Soft System. Only one person at a time can fill a regularly budgeted position.
A group of services within a department, aligned by a common purpose.
This session, as required by State law (Local Government Budget and Fiscal Control Act), 
provides an opportunity for citizens to comment on the published budget plan. 
Notice of the public hearing and the Council discussion process are included in the Charlotte Observer, 
on the city’s website, and on the Government Channel. The budget documents are made available to the public through 
the regional public libraries and local university libraries.​
The City’s Public Safety Pay Plan covers all Police classes below the rank of Police Captain and all Fire classes 
below the rank of Battalion Fire Chief. There are two components to the Public Safety Pay Plan. 
The first is progression through steps, and the second is structural market adjustments to the steps.
The Strategic Operating Plan includes organizational strategy and resources. It combines city strategy, operating, and capital budgets.
This session provides the opportunity for Council to vote on each of the items that moved from the adjustments session. 
Each of these items receiving six or more straw votes will be incorporated 
into the budget ordinance that will become part of the budget adoption agenda item.
The City’s support departments include the City Attorney’s Office, 
City Clerk’s Office, City Manager’s Office, Management & Financial Services, and Human Resources.
Quantifiable and specific level of achievement, 
it communicates the expected level of performance.
The City operates with a two-year budget plan. The plan is established to manage funds on a fiscal year (FY) that begins July 1 and ends June 30. 
Council appropriates the first year’s budget and approves the plan for the second year’s budget. 
Although the City’s budget preparation and request is presented in two-year increments, Council is required to appropriate monies on an annual basis.​

Budget road map

Follow Charlotte's proposed FY2019 budget process -  the road from budget kick off to budget adoption.

Learn where your voice is heard as a citizen!


Balance the budget!

Check out the online budget simulation tool, Balancing Act.