Finance Department

 Budget

The budget for both operating and capital totals $2.45 billion in FY2017.
The General Fund budget for the City of Charlotte is $552.7 million in FY2017.

​The purpose of the Cost Allocation Plan is to distribute or allocate the support business units cost as general and administrative overhead to the service departments. The allocation is made in a two step process. First, the support costs are allocated to all business units--both support and service. Then, the allocations received by the support business units in the first allocation are reallocated to the service departments. The cost allocation plan provides general and administrative overhead information, which is used to calculate the fully allocated costs of City services. Primarily, the fully allocated costs are used for preparing competitive bids and benchmarking services, determining the cost of General Fund services provided to Enterprise Funds and calculating user fees and charges for services.

Copies of the budget books are available for viewing in the five regional public libraries and the area University libraries. Many of our most requested publications are available through our website.

 Capital Investment Plan

​The CIP or Capital Investment Plan is a 5-year financial plan which matches the City's projected financial resources dedicated to capital spending with the City's highest priority capital needs. See Capital Budget.
​A CIP outlines how the City plans to replace aging infrastructure and address new infrastructure needs associated with a growing city.
  • Plan demonstrates how the City will meet current and future infrastructure needs:  A CIP outlines how the City plans to replace aging infrastructure and address new infrastructure needs associated with a growing city.
  • Strengthens Credit Rating: Rating agencies review the City’s ability to adapt to growth and to maintain its infrastructure. If it appears that a City is not keeping up with its growth, it will likely face higher, future infrastructure costs, which may impact the City’s ability to repay existing debt and obtain future debt. Currently, the City of Charlotte maintains a AAA credit rating (highest rating attainable) to secure low interest rates for the issuance of debt to fund new infrastructure.
  • Supports Neighborhoods and Businesses: Adequate infrastructure supports strong, vibrant neighborhoods and business expansion.
 A CIP outlines how the City plans to replace aging infrastructure and address new infrastructure needs associated with a growing city.
​The CIP is a separate budget from the Operating Budget, but the CIP and Operating budgets combined equal the total City budget. The CIP follows a development track that is parallel to the development of the Operating Budget. A rough outline of the development process is as follows:
  • City Council holds an annual retreat to determine priorities.
  • The City determines the status of both the Operating and Capital Budgets.
  • Departments and other agencies identify funding needs.
  • Revenue projections are finalized for future years.
  • Needs are matched with resources using City Council's Strategic Focus Areas and approved community plans as guides.
  • The Capital Budget is developed and presented to City Council over several months beginning in February with final approval in June (new fiscal year begins on July 1).
​General Government capital projects are funded through a variety of sources:
  • General Obligation Bonds are used to finance long-term and large capital projects.
  • For FY2015, 1.20¢ of the property tax rate is dedicated to Pay-As-You-Go capital projects. 9.67¢ of the property tax rate is dedicated to the Municipal Debt Service Fund. Capital Reserve or funding surpluses above 16% in the General Fund are transferred to the CIP.
  • One-time (non-recurring) revenues are dedicated to capital projects
  • Asset Management property sales are dedicated to capital projects
  • Grant funding (from the State and Federal governments)
  • Fund balance and revolving loan repayments
Most capital projects are based on community plans, such as the Airport Master Plan, Two-Year Water and Sewer System Evaluations, long-range Transportation Plans, District Plans and the long-range Generalized Land Use Plan. Other capital projects are on-going programs to maintain the City's infrastructure.
​General Obligation (GO) Bonds are debt instruments much like a house mortgage. The City identifies a major project (e.g. a fire station) or several similar projects (e.g. seven road intersections) and determines that to complete the projects in a timely manner a debt issuance is needed. (The City does not maintain large amounts of cash to finance these larger capital projects.)

​Enterprise capital programs are self-sustaining funds which are exclusively financed from revenues generated by the operation. For instance, the water and sewer capital program is exclusively financed by user fees. This is also the case with the Airport, Storm Water, and Charlotte Area Transit (CATS) capital programs. These enterprise operations do not receive any property tax support.

 Financial Partners

Financial Partners  (or outside agencies) are community agencies or organizations with whom the City of Charlotte contracts to provide specific services. These partnerships extend the City's capacity to address strategic priorities and concerns of the community. These diverse partnerships include:
  • Partnerships due to special legislation, 
  • Partnerships that support City Council's five strategic focus areas,
  • Partnerships that contribute to important community activities

 Performance Management

The Balanced Scorecard helps translate an organization's mission, vision and strategy into tangible objectives. It focuses on four critical success indicators: serve the customer, manage resources, run the business and develop employees. The City of Charlotte uses the Balanced Scorecard as its performance management system.​

 Procurement

​Procurement has the following bidding levels:
  • Goods costing less than $10,000 may be handled by requesting agencies by any reasonable means.
  • Goods with a total cost greater than $10,000 and less than a total cost of $50,000 require informal solicitations with multiple quotes.
  • Goods costing $50,000 to $100,000 require written quotations from a minimum of three sources. 
  • Goods costing more than $100,000 require a formal sealed bid process. Technology goods costing more than $100,000 require a formal sealed bid or proposal process.
  • Professional services and technology costing more than $100,000 require a formal sealed proposal process.
Telephone quotes are allowed for items costing up to $10,000. Telephone quotes are sometimes requested by departments, who have been delegated this authority by the Citywide Procurement Policy.
​Procurement Management handles procurement for all offices with the following exceptions:
  • Engineering and Property Management (EPM) handles solicitations in regards to professional architectural or engineering services and construction of capital projects included in the annually adopted Utility Capital Improvements Budget.
  • Charlotte Water handles utilities-related construction contracting and utilities-related services and technology contracting. 
  • Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) handles construction-related transit contracting. 
  • Charlotte Douglas International Airport handles construction, services, and technology-related aviation contracting needs. 
  • The City's Procurement Management Division does not handle procurement for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools or the Charlotte Housing Authority.
  • Mecklenburg County's Procurement Office supports all County Departments with their purchasing needs for goods, services, and technology and includes a Vendor Management Program Office to assist with vendor performance and relationship management.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Purchasing Department can be reached by calling 704.343.6251 or visiting their website.
​Procurement Management's standard office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Staff is generally available for your assistance from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily.

​There are several types of bonds that may be required - Bid Bonds, Performance Bonds and Payment Bonds. See information in the "City of Charlotte/Mecklenburg County Procurement Manual Policies and Procedures". Bonds are normally not required for projects.  However, Procurement may require a bond if it is believed to be in the City's best interest. Bonds may be issued by an approved surety firm or be in the form of a cashier's check.

​City Departments have been delegated authority for informal purchases for total single orders costing up to $10,000. For purchases greater than $10,000, appropriate Procurement Procedures must be followed.  Departments also have the ability to make purchases on their Procurement Cards up to an assigned single purchase spending authority.
​You may request information about previous contracts by calling the City Clerk’s Office at 704.336.2248 or faxing your request to 704-336-7588. You may also contact Procurement Management at 704.336.2256 or by faxing your request to 704.336.2258. The City Clerk's Office is the main repository for all City Contracts; therefore Procurement Management may not have the Contract you are searching for.
​Current information may be obtained on the North Carolina Interactive Purchasing System website (www.ips.state.nc.us).  Additional contracting opportunities may be sought here.

 Procurement: Being Awarded a Bid

​Written and signed contracts are provided for all contracts in the formal range. Purchase orders may also be issued in addition to the signed contracts. For informal contracts (less than $100,000), the official award may be given at the discretion of the Procurement Management staff or individuals with appropriate authority within each City and County department. Informal commodities contracts are typically further evidenced by purchase order only. Service and technology contracts in any amount are always supported by a written signed contract. When responding to an RFP for services or technology, the selected vendor will receive a signed contract from the City/County. After the contract is signed, the vendor may start work.
​For most orders, the delivery point is the location noted in the "ship to" where the item or service will be used.  A vendor should note carefully the delivery address in the bidding and order documents.  The vendor is responsible for delivering to the final destination specified in the order.  Deliveries to departments typically are made by common carrier, by the vendor's trucks, or through the U.S. Postal Service.  Vendors should not send the order to the Buyer in Procurement Management whose name may be on the transaction.

​The vendor must include the Purchase Order number on the outside of the package, packing slip, and all invoices.  This will enable the City/County to identify the correct department or individual as the recipient and ensure prompt payment.

​All goods are considered received by the City/County only after the requesting department inspects them to be certain all items are received and in good condition.  After inspection and any necessary tests have been performed, the department will approve the invoice.  Services are considered delivered only after the City/County "accepts" the deliverables in accordance with specific Acceptance Criteria that are outlined in the contract. This typically includes a letter from the vendor stating that the deliverable has been met and the City/County signing the letter to indicate acceptance of the deliverable.  Technology deliverables typically involve a test phase and include Test Acceptance Criteria.  Invoices are not sent until acceptance is received and payment is not made until after acceptance.

The City or County has no formal Shipping and Receiving Department to sort and assess shipments that are received, thus delays may occur when:

  • Short Shipment/Backorders: The City/County pays for an order only after all items have been received.  Partial payments can be made but must be requested at the time the order is placed.  If a vendor has made several shipments to fill an order, and mailed the invoice for the entire order before all shipments were received, the vendor can expect payment only after the City/County receives the complete order.
  • Wrong Delivery Address: The shipment was sent to Procurement Management.  Occasionally, vendors send orders to Procurement Management  instead of the requesting department.  This causes delays as Procurement Management determines the ultimate recipient.  If no purchase order number appears on the outside of the container or packing slip, Procurement Management may be unable to identify the correct department and thus be forced to return the shipment.
  • Missing Order Number: Vendors may fail to show the order number on the package.  If there is a problem with the delivery address, knowing the order number can be a significant help to the City/County in identifying the ultimate recipient.
​The requesting agency must verify that the order was received complete and in good condition. Invoices are sent directly to Accounts Payable (A/P).  A/P scans the invoices and sends them electronically to the department.  Once the invoice is approved by the requesting department and the invoice is routed back to A/P, payment will be initiated by A/P. 

​If a vendor has a question about an invoice or payments, they should contact Accounts Payable at 704-336-5141.  It is important that the vendor have the Purchase Order number or other identifying transaction number handy, including a contract number. 

​If the vendor observes the following tips, things should go smoothly: 
  • Vendor should ensure that the PO number provided by the City is clearly indicated on the invoice.
  • Make sure shipment was sent to the correct address.  They should note carefully the "Deliver To" address on the Purchase Order.   The order number should be included on the outside of the package. 
The vendor should send an invoice for the complete order, not a partial one, and do this only after the full order has been received or the deliverables have been accepted.  In general, the City/County does not pay partial invoices without prior arrangements being made.  Invoices sent too early may become difficult to locate once the shipment arrives or the deliverables are met.  Send the invoice to the correct address and include a City/County contact person if specified on the PO or in the contract.  Include the correct PO number or Contract Number on the invoice.  The City/County needs that identifying number to match shipments or services with the procurement documents.

 Procurement: Getting or Responding to a Bid

​The most convenient means by which a vendor can register is by filling out the Vendor Registration Form (VRF) found at http://vendors.charlottenc.gov.  Vendors may also request and complete a VRF from the Department(s) they are interested in doing business with or from Vendor Administration by calling 704.336.4777 or emailing ssvendoradmin@charlottenc.gov. A current W9 will need to be submitted with the VRF.

​In accordance with the North Carolina Procurement Statutes, the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County are unable to grant preferences.  We must award bids to the lowest, responsible, responsive vendor or to those vendors providing the best value solution to the City or County. That being said, the Charlotte Business INClusion program is designed to promote diversity, inclusion, and local business opportunities in the City’s contracting and procurement process for businesses headquartered in the Charlotte Combined Statistical Area.  If you are interested in learning more about the program and how to participate as a Minority/Woman/Small Business Enterprise (MWSBE), visit www.charlottebusinessinclusion.com.

Advertisements for goods and services are solicited by Invitations to Bid and Requests for Proposals and are posted for viewing on the North Carolina Interactive Purchasing Site (www.ips.state.nc.us), which is maintained by the State of North Carolina Purchasing and Contracts Division.

​Solicitation results for Invitations to Bid may be given over the phone.  You may call 704.336.2256 after the bid opening, and Procurement staff will provide you a bid tabulation where applicable.  However, a bid tabulation will be supplied only after a final decision has been made to award the bid.  A Request for Proposal does not result in a bid tabulation as the process of evaluation is generally longer than that of an Invitation to Bid and is not based on price.  Solicitation results for Requests for Proposals may be available after final evaluations are complete upon written request to Procurement Management.

​No. However, any vendor soliciting or providing business in Charlotte and/or Mecklenburg County must be registered as a vendor with the City of Charlotte and/or Mecklenburg County.

​Formal advertised sealed bids/proposals will NOT be accepted by Procurement Management via facsimile or e-mail; however, informal quotes may be faxed or e-mailed.

​A vendor may get information from Procurement Management by calling 704-336-2256.

​Typically a City or County department submits a request for services to Procurement Management for a specific requirement.
​Formal contracts (over $100,000) are officially awarded upon approval by the City Council or County Commissioners.  Written and signed contracts are provided for all contracts in the formal range. Purchase orders may also be issued in addition to the signed contracts. For informal contracts (less than $100,000), the official award may be given at the discretion of the Procurement Management staff or individuals with appropriate authority within each City and County department.  Informal commodities contracts are typically further evidenced by purchase order only. Service and technology contracts in any amount are always supported by a written signed contract. 

Because the City/County relies heavily on competitive bidding, no department knows which bidder will receive an award until sealed bids are opened and evaluated or, in the case of services and technology, proposals have gone through the evaluation process.  This means that no one can give assurance that a vendor will receive a particular contract. Do Not Start Work Without an Authorized Contract.  No service should be provided, and no goods should be delivered, before you receive a written contract from the City/County.  Until the City/County executes the contract, purchase order or blanket purchase order, the City/County has no legal obligation to pay for the order.

Because of the structural nature of government contracting, the City/County has little flexibility if the bid a vendor submits does not respond to all specifications and requirements outlined in the bid.  So it is critical that a vendor submit a bid that is right the first (and perhaps only) time, or else we may not be able to consider the bid.  Here are some things for a vendor to keep in mind:
  • Be Timely
  • Vendors must submit bids by the date and time specified.  Late bids cannot be considered.
  • Read the Bid Conditions
  • Each bid contains a number of bid conditions, some applicable to all bids, and some tailored to the particular bid.  Prices must be firm for the period specified, which can be from as short as 90 days to as long as 5 years.  For a contract, which could extend over several years, prices may change yearly.
  • Be Responsive
  • Bid on items and in quantities the bid requests.  If a vendor adds any qualifications or reservations to their bid, the bid may be considered conditional or non-responsive and can be rejected.
  • FAILURE TO ADHERE TO BID CONDITIONS MAY RESULT IN REJECTION OF THE BID.
​Any question concerning the solicitation should be directed, in writing, to the person whose name and contact information is listed in the solicitation. Correspondence must include the solicitation number and reference the specific section in question. No verbal response or interpretation that constitutes a material change to the solicitation is binding, unless it is issued as a written addendum to the solicitation.

​If each division has a different Federal ID # (FID), then a separate Vendor Registration Form must be submitted. If the division has the same FID, but different mailing addresses, it will be added as a Remit address on the main vendor’s account.
Most pre-bid or pre-proposal conferences and site visits are not mandatory. However, in order to offer a responsive bid or proposal, a vendor should attend these meetings. Ignorance of existing conditions is not an acceptable excuse for non-performance at a later date. Bidders should take every opportunity to get to know the project and the requirements for that project.
​Whenever a vendor modifies a clause, requirement, or specification in a solicitation, the vendor is "taking exception."  For the purchase of commodities, this will almost always disqualify the bid.  Such exceptions typically indicate the vendor cannot comply with the minimum requirements of the solicitation.  For services and technology, the exception is taken into consideration and if it is determined to be in the best interests of the City or County, the exception is addressed during the evaluation process and terms and conditions may be negotiated with the vendor during the contract negotiation phase.

​Depending on the complexity of the solicitation, it can take from several days to several weeks to evaluate all the bids/proposals submitted.  For commodities, Procurement Management makes certain that vendors are bidding on the same items and in the same units and quantities. Procurement Management sends a summary to the requesting department for review and recommendation. Procurement Management awards to the lowest responsive and responsible bidder. For a bid with many items, Procurement Management, in its discretion, may award the entire contract to one bidder based on comparisons of the aggregate bids, or may make individual line-item awards to the lowest bidders.  This option will be stated in the bid package.  For services and technology, several criteria are taken into consideration, including but not limited to Qualifications, Experience, Approach, Financial Stability, Cost Efficiency, and Acceptance of the City's or County's Terms and Conditions.  Service and Technology contracts are not always awarded to the lowest bidder.  While cost is a consideration, it is not the overriding factor in a decision to award;  quality of services takes precedence.  The City and County strive to find a balance between the level of service and the cost for the service.

 Taxes

The current tax rate is 47.87 cents per $100 assessed valuation.

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