City of Charlotte

Charlotte, North Carolina, United States

User Fee Study

Raftelis completed a user fee study to review and update the municipality’s fees for service. In total, 60 miscellaneous user fees were reviewed during the project. This scope consisted of documenting each fee’s purpose and current fee amount, providing recommendations to rename, consolidate, delete, or add new fees, identify inconsistencies present within the billing software (Banner System) and the accounting software (Munis) related to each of the fees, identify the authorizing language for each of the fees with in the City’s Code of Ordinances, or the North Carolina General Statutes, complete a comparison of miscellaneous fees with other municipalities in the region, develop an Microsoft Excel-based model that calculates the fees and allows the City to update the fees based in inputted personnel, vehicle, materials, and equipment-related costs. Developed and provided a miscellaneous fee model for the client’s future use and preparing a fee study report.

Raftelis assisted the City, its Revenue Division, Business Systems Division, CharMeck 311, and the City’s Customer Service Department in developing a Cost Allocation Plan for its billing and collections department to account for and include organizational structure changes related to billing and related work processes while providing alignment of other existing cost allocation models within the City and the County. The work was completed by incorporating applicable cost allocation best practices, establishing consensus and mutual adoption of the recommendations by both the City and the County.

As part of the user fee study, Raftelis assisted the City in updating user fees for water and sewer service and developed a cost-of-service and user fee model to assist in cost justifying the utility user fees charged by the City. Throughout these rate updates, our team examined many different fee approaches, calculated the costs and impacts of implementing them, and participated in meetings with staff, the client’s Advisory Council, and the public to discuss the new recommended approaches. Raftelis facilitated a public input process by forming a stakeholder advisory group that consisted of representatives of residential customers in various neighborhoods across the service areas, as well as business representatives from the community. We conducted more than 15 public and stakeholder meetings to obtain customer feedback pertaining to the user fee structure. We assisted Charlotte Water in obtaining Council approval for a modified fee structure methodology that included an enhanced lifeline rate, water conservation incentives, and sewer billing based on average winter consumption. Additionally, Raftelis has assisted Charlotte in performing risk analysis on its revenue stream, assisted with rate modeling, analyses, results, professional recommendations, public outreach and communications support, presentations to stakeholder advisory groups, and subcommittees of City Council. We have fostered a strong working relationship with Charlotte Water staff and have successfully delivered on our engagements.

Raftelis currently provides services to the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD). Raftelis is working with several divisions within CMPD – including the Crime Lab, Crime Scene Search, Communications (911), Recruiting and Training, and Animal Care and Control divisions – to calculate cost-justified fees for various services provided. Based on in-depth discussions with staff members, Raftelis has developed models for each of the divisions which incorporates direct operating and capital costs as well as indirect overhead costs incurred from both the Department and from the City of Charlotte.

Strategic Planning

Managing runoff from rainfall, reducing flooding risks, and protecting and improving the quality of surface waters are at the core of Charlotte Storm Water Services. This organization is part of a collaborative stormwater utility created through an interlocal agreement between the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. Collaboration and partnerships are highly valued by Charlotte Storm Water Services and are important to the continued success of the growing and developing community. Charlotte Storm Water Services engaged Raftelis to facilitate a strategic plan focused on ensuring the organization stays committed to its mission and achieves its vision for the future. The strategic planning process was designed to build on, strengthen, and support its current partnerships, its collaborative and highly skilled team of employees, and the residents and property owners of Charlotte. This was achieved through interviews with city, county, and community partners, employee interviews and an online survey, and developer and public engagement sessions. While Charlotte Storm Water Services is focused on improving the public stormwater drainage system, at the end of the day, the work they do serves the community and helps the city continue to thrive. The resulting strategic plan highlights a focused mission and vision, as well as the priority areas Charlotte Storm Water Services will focus on the next five years: Environmental Stewardship, Mission-Driven Workforce, Infrastructure Management, Development Services, Communication and Outreach, and Financial Stewardship. Charlotte Storm Water Services is prioritizing clear communication of the strategic plan and successful implementation to move the organization forward.

View Strategic Plan