Top Stories for Sept. 20, 2023
Mecklenburg County provides this weekly rundown of top stories from the Board of County Commissioners meetings and from the Public Information Department’s newsroom. The Board met on Tuesday, Sept. 19. The agenda is available here or view the meeting at Watch.MeckNC.gov. The Board’s next budget and public policy meeting is scheduled for Sept. 26 at 2:30 p.m.
1. ARPA Update: The Board received an update on the $160 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds disbursed to organizations in Mecklenburg County, which did not include the additional $55 million for partner agencies. In Round 1 of funding, 31 of 33 organizations met or exceeded 85% of their performance targets. In round 2 funding, 74 projects received grants. Through the clawback provision of the contract as well as other business decisions, nearly $4 million in unspent ARPA funds were returned to the County. The Board received and approved the County Manager's recommendation to invest the unspent funds to support the renovations of a facility that will serve as an alternative to housing children requiring emergency placement.
2. Suicide Awareness Month: The Board proclaimed September as Suicide Prevention Month in Mecklenburg County, recognizing suicide as a health crisis. Prevention begins with conversations about mental health, the impact of suicide, and helping connect people with the appropriate services. Anyone who is struggling or in crisis can call or text 988. Residents can also check for local resources at MeckHope, a collaborative initiative to bring urgent and preventive mental health and drug/alcohol-related services to Mecklenburg County residents.
3. Hispanic Heritage Month: The Board recognized the contributions made to the community by immigrants, residents, and citizens of Latino origin by proclaiming Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 as Hispanic Heritage Month. Nearly 15% of Mecklenburg County’s residents are of Hispanic or Latino descent, according to the U.S. Census. The County’s character is greatly enhanced by Hispanic Americans and other ethnic groups, all of whom contribute and play a vital role in sustaining the quality of life in the community.
4. Festival in the Park: It’s almost time! Park and Recreation is co-hosting Festival in the Park, bringing the community together through the arts. It will take place Sept. 22 – 24, at Freedom Park, 1908 East Blvd. in Charlotte. For nearly six decades, Festival in the Park has brought people from all walks of life together to enjoy arts, crafts, music, and family entertainment. Learn more at FestivalInThePark.org.
5. MeckEffect: “The Meck Effect” is the County’s new marketing campaign created to inform the public about the organizations receiving American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds through the County. The campaign concept was presented to the BOCC by the County Public Information department. Mecklenburg County developed the ARPA investment strategy with the goal of distributing funds to community programs and organizations with a mission to help, heal, and train our neighbors. The County’s Public Information Department was provided ARPA funding to develop a marketing campaign that would tell the stories of the recipients and the positive impact ARPA funds have on their stakeholders. The campaign will launch this fall.
6. NACo/NACIO Awards: Mecklenburg County was recognized nationally this year with twelve Achievement Awards from the National Association of Counties, or NACO. The awards honor innovative, effective county government programs that strengthen services for residents, and highlight our employees’ commitment and desire to make our community a better place. The awards include programs for children, criminal justice and public safety, administration, information technology, health, civic engagement and more. The Public Information Department also won eight awards from the National Association of County Information Officers (NACIO) for communications and outreach programs. See the complete list of award recipients.