The Mecklenburg County Manager recently presented to the Board of County Commissioners a proposed $1.9 billion budget for the county for fiscal year 2020. That amount includes an allotment of $8.1 million in funding for the purpose of reducing racial disparities, which represents an increase of $6.3 million over the previous allotment for such purposes.
While the $8.1 million figure represents funding across many different programs and areas, $3.3 million of that amount is dedicated to the formation of a Small Business Micro Loan Pool for companies that are certified under the county's program for minority- and woman-owned and small businesses (MWSBEs). The pool would have the capacity to make smaller loans to MWSBEs than those typically offered by large financial institutions, which have minimums that are greater than the amounts needed by MWSBEs.
The pool would go some ways towards remedying a situation where all non-construction contracts let by Mecklenburg County awarded to MWBEs only reached 3 percent. The percent of such contracts going to MWBEs in the construction field was 21 percent, however. For context, Mecklenburg County is 38 percent non-white in its population. In relation to these facts, the proposed funding also includes a sum of $250,000 to be used to fund a study of the county's MWSBE program, to determine how it can better meet its goals of inclusion.
The press release related to the budget proposal may be read at https://www.mecknc.gov/news/Pages/County-Manager-to-Present-Fiscal-Year-2020-Recommended-Budget-.aspx