Mecklenburg County commissioners last week passed an $808 million budget for fiscal 1995 that cuts property taxes slightly after eight years of increases.

The county's leaders unanimously approved a motion to lower the tax rate by 0.45 cent, to 80.5 cents per $100 of assessed property value for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

But the county, which encompasses Charlotte, did raise some fees, including charges for garbage disposal, as Well as ambulance usage and other Health Department assessments.

Officials said they were able to lower the property tax levy because the county spent about $8 million less this budget year than planned. They also noted that the county's coffers have benefited from the recent rise in interest rates, which has brought in more investment income than anticipated. In addition, a new revenue collection system is expected to bring in more in sales and automobile taxes than expected.

The budget approval followed a request from Charlotte's city council that the county raise property taxes by about a penny to facilitate a merger of the city and county police departments. Instead of raising the taxes, the commissioners decided to provide $1 million toward the consolidation.

The budget calls for spending $123 million for schools, up 4% from fiscal 1994.

Mecklenburg County, which serves about 600,000 citizens, has primary responsibility for funding schools and social services within its borders.

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